Kaljo Põllu
Eternity, Heaven and Earth

March 20 2022

Some time ago I came across this picture, that I couldn’t forget anymore. It spoke to me with a haunting immediacy while being strangely elusive. And when I finally came back to it to follow its call, I was transported through a portal into a mythic eternity, where the human condition is inextricably interwoven with the fabric of space and time. Like a deep well evoking forgotten concepts about origins, belonging, and the presence of spiritual forces in the world. And a man whose images can stir up such timeless intuitions, is more than a folkloristic painter, he’s a shaman.

Kaljo Põllu (1934—2010) was a legend in his own lifetime. He holds a unique twofold position in the history of Estonian art. First as a thought leader of the avant-garde during the sixties and later as a lecturer and explorer who wandered among the mythical Ugrian forests in search of a vanishing folk heritage. The second half of his life following his departure from the Western contemporary art discourse, feels imbued with a special sense of purpose, a mission of preservation of ancestral wisdom. Rarely have I seen this message communicated with more visceral profundity.