Tom of Finland exhibition opens in Kiasma

1 minute read

Credits: Tom of Finland Foundation

Touko Laaksonen, the artist behind Tom of Finland

Touko Laaksonen (1920-1991), known as Tom of Finland, is one of the most internationally acclaimed Finnish artists today. He was born on the 8th of May – "toukokuu" in Finnish – in Kaarina, near the city of Turku in the Coast and Archipelago region. His work focuses on skilfully hand-drawn images of gay men, which was revolutionary at a time when homosexuality was still considered a crime. 

Credits : Tom of Finland Foundation
Credits: Tom of Finland Foundation

International forerunner

"The characters in Tom of Finland’s drawings – lumberjacks, bikers, soldiers and policemen – exude vitality, joy and pride. -- His art has been liberating and empowering for countless gay men and sexual minorities for decades." 

"Tom of Finland developed exquisite drawing skills. His influence is seen in the work of many notable artists such as Robert MapplethorpeMike Kelley and Jean-Paul Gaultier. They were among the first to recognize the artistic value of Tom’s drawings, which have later toured the world in exhibitions."

Source: Kiasma

Credits: Tom of Finland Foundation

Tom of Finland exhibition is open in Kiasma from April to October 2023

Contemporary Art Museum Kiasma in Helsinki opens an exhibition about the art and six-decade spanning career of Touko Laaksonen in April 2023. The exhibition titled "Bold Journey" will be open from April 28 till October 29, 2023.

If you'd like to read more about Touko Laaksonen and his life, visit the Tom of Finland Foundation's page at

Credits: Julia Kivelä

See also

How I found myself in Finland – stories from travellers

In this article, travellers tell stories about why...