Pohjanmaan Valokuvakeskus LAKEUS ry, abbreviated as POVA, is a photography center operating in the regions of Southern Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia, and Ostrobothnia in Finland.
POVA aims to promote the awareness of photographic art and artists in its region, create favorable conditions for photographers to pursue their work, and connect individuals interested in photography.
POVA operates a free gallery called Kulttuurikeskus Vanha Paukku in Lapua, which is open to both exhibitors and the public. They also organize exhibitions in the Wanha Asema gallery in Kurikka. Approximately 13 photography exhibitions are held annually. The members of POVA have access to a darkroom and a large-format printer located in the premises of Kulttuurikeskus Vanha Paukku.
In addition to exhibitions, POVA organizes various lectures and courses. The photography center maintains close collaboration with Lapua city museums and the Vanha Paukku artist residency.
The application period for the 2024 exhibition slots ends on September 30, 2023, you can read more about the open call here.
Pohjanmaan Valokuvakeskus located in Lapua is committed to its own region and its photographic historical roots. It maintains close connections with other cultural institutions and actors in the surrounding area, without neglecting international partnerships and contacts.
Between the years 1900 and 1980, Pyhälahti Photography Studio operated in Lapua. Its last owner, Heikki Pyhälahti, donated the studio’s equipment and negative collections to the city of Lapua in 1982. The condition of the donation was the establishment of a photography museum in Lapua and the preservation of the collections in the city’s possession. The significance of Pyhälahti’s collections and the idea of a photography museum played a crucial role in the birth of the photography center in Lapua.
The idea of establishing a regional photography center emerged in January 1992 through an interview given by Kalervo Puskala to the local newspaper Ilkka. Immediately after the article was published, a committee was formed to prepare for the Pohjanmaan Valokuvakeskus. The matter was presented to the cultural and local heritage committee of the South Ostrobothnia Regional Council in February 1992. In April of the same year, a memorandum prepared by the committee was presented in Vaasa, stating that the center was essential for such a large area where there was no common coordinator for photographic art.
The founding meeting of the photography center took place in May 1997. The association was named Pohjanmaan Valokuvakeskus LAKEUS ry, with Kalervo Puskala elected as the chairman. The official operating area was defined to include the regions of Southern Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia, and Ostrobothnia.
In 2015, the photography center outlined its future focus on promoting the awareness of photographic art and supporting the work of photographers. The exhibition policy was adjusted to align with more professional standards. At the same time, the center adopted the abbreviation POVA as its shortened name.