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Collaborative Campaign Launched to Tackle Social Exclusion

Mantsinen Group and Neste have joined forces to tackle one of society’s most difficult challenges: the social exclusion of young people. The problem is vast as one in five children in developed countries lives in poverty*. Through the Zero Exclusion campaign, Mantsinen and Neste have pledged to get the voices of these young people heard and raise funds to tackle social exclusion. The campaign brings together young artists, one of the world’s leading art galleries – and the world’s largest hydraulic crane.

Three young Finnish artists have painted 42 artworks, using a 380-tonne Mantsinen 300 hydraulic crane as a painting tool. The artworks were produced in collaboration with the internationally acclaimed American art gallery, Albright Knox. The paintings will be sold and the proceedings donated in full to the Finland-based charity Hope ry.  Through the campaign, Neste and Mantsinen Group aim to raise €50,000 to invest in programs designed to prevent the social exclusion of young people.

Combating social exclusion of young people is not necessarily the first thing to be associated with heavy industry, but according to Mia Mantsinen, CEO of Mantsinen Group, the project is well aligned with the company’s own story.

“The founders of our company come from modest backgrounds. We want to show that anyone can achieve success, as long as they are given opportunities for self-fulfilment. Once you have received a helping hand along the way, you want to help others too”, says Mia Mantsinen.

Mia Mantsinen continues,  “Supporting children from low-income families is something we feel strongly about, partly due to the humble backgrounds of our families. Each and every one should have a chance to make progress in their lives, even if the starting point wasn’t the perfect one. That is why we want to do our share in showing that anyone can achieve anything, if only they are given a chance.”

A once-in-a-lifetime experience for the artists brings hope to young people

The artworks were painted in Vuosaari harbour in Helsinki in July. The young artists received a one-hour briefing on handling the 380-tonne machine from Mantsinen Group’s service engineers Henri Vänskä and Matti Mujunen. After that, the artworks were created under supervision of Albright-Knox gallery’s curator Eric Jones. The young artists behind the artworks are three 16–18-year-old artists, Kip Pääkkönen, Kukka-Maaria Juvonen and Miia Kuittinen. For the young artists the project was an unforgettable experience.

“The three of us wanted to participate in this project because we felt it was our turn to give something back for all the help we have received. I love art, and painting with the massive crane will forever remain an experience I will always remember. I hope my work inspires companies to take action and help other young people” says artist Miia Kuittinen.

Heidi Peltonen, Manager of Sustainable Partnerships at Neste, describes the severity and scale of the challenge at hand, “The challenge of social exclusion is huge and tackling it requires a collaborative effort – this is why we are inviting companies to participate. Every young person, no matter where or how they live, should feel that they are an important part of our society. One of the objectives of the Zero Exclusion campaign is to give an unconventional and inspiring voice to the participating young artists.”

A soft challenge from heavy industry

When it comes to continuity, Mantsinen Group aims to take the softer values into account beyond this project.  CEO Mia Mantsinen commented  “Social responsibility is an issue of great importance for us. We plan to take responsibility and take care of our extended community in the future, too”

Mari Riissanen, Marketing Coordinator, Mantsinen, “We had an amazing team of different kind of companies and people working together towards a common, important goal – with an idea that may be the craziest in a while. The world’s largest hydraulic crane transforming into a paintbrush and young teens painting art with a short training. Many people wouldn’t have believed in making it happen. The young artists proved us that when you have enough faith and confidence in what you do, you have the strength to accomplish almost anything. I wish that every young teen had someone who supports, stands by their side and believes in them.”

The artworks are on display at Bio Rex, Helsinki, between 4–22 December 2019 and online at the Zero Exclusion campaign site and are available to purchase through their website.  Click here 

*) UN News: One in five children in rich countries live in poverty, UNICEF ‘wake-up call’ report shows

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