ILOMANTSI. I’m afraid I have some disappointing news. The first ever world champion of bear sculpting isn’t traveling back to Benin now that the competition is over. Florent’s workmanship was largely appreciated – both by the jury and the public – but the jury decided to give the first prize to a Finnish chainsaw sculptor who demonstrated astonishing skill in describing the movement of the bear in a statue.
The first three prizes were awarded to:
1) Esko Heikura, Finland, 1500 euros
2) Erkki Rytkönen, Finland, 1000 euros
3) Silver Treiman, Estonia, a set of protective workwear
Ms Helka Ketonen, member of the Jury, and cultural director of MSL gave thanks to Florent’s original idea about a hibernating bear and African perception of the Finnish national animal. Florent’s concentration and working technique also earned thanks, said madame la directrice.
Florent is leaving Finland in a couple of days with lots of new contacts in his phonebook and a few new skills in his pocket. “I’ll start using a chainsaw in my work. It’s very interesting. I’m also happy about all the new contacts I have”, he told VK reporters on the way back from Ilomantsi. He is looking forward to continue sharing with his European peers via Internet.
And what does Florent think about Finland? ”The trees is Finnish forests are very straight and growing in clear lines”, he says. ”It’s like Finnish people. Everything is straight and well organized, things have their own places.”
Along with new sculpting skills and contacts, Florent is bringing back home an experience of Finland. Here, up north, the air is fresh and working outside is very consuming. For this reason, one of Florent’s new experiences includes munkkikahvit, coffee&donut, a Finnish institution almost as important as the hot sauna. With the help of munkkikahvit, skill and artistic vision he finished his work and built a long-lasting Beninese monument in Ilomantsi. Florent’s Le Rêve Puissant will be displayed there every summer for years to come.