Sami Helle is a disabled artist and one of the founders of Pertin Valinta, an Outsider art gallery and agency from Helsinki. Pertti’s Choice which is the popup of Pertin Valinta will take place in London this week. We asked Helle about employment of disabled people and entrepreneurship.
What has the life change been like from artist to entrepreneur?
“It has been nice. I have liked it a lot. I will never leave Pertin Valinta. I’m here every Friday, once a week in the shop. Every time that there is something related to Pertin Valinta, I am there. Pertin Valinta has been in operation for almost two years now and these have been the most wonderful years in the world. Music is also still close to my heart. I’m all out for both music and entrepreneurship.”
Improving the situation of disabled artists is one of the reasons why Pertti’s Choice is organised. What are the things that should be changed?
“Disabled people should get better opportunities to become entrepreneurs. It should be possible for them to become taxpayers and receive proper wages from their work. Of course disabled people should have meaningful things to do. The main point of Pertin Valinta is that what you do should be meaningful.”
What should be done for the system to enable this?
“Attitudes should be changed. There should also be more entrepreneurship training for disabled people like the training that is given for other entrepreneurs. Disabled people should be trained in a way that when they open a business they are prepared and know what entrepreneurship is.”
Employment rate of disabled people in Finland and Britain is far from those of general population. What should be done about it?
“Companies should employ more disabled people and attitudes shouldn’t be negative. Sometimes it feels like attitudes are the reason why disabled people don’t get employed. Everything starts from breaking the negative walls and making it possible to build new kinds of work communities through positive mentality. My biggest wish when doing this work is to get those negative walls down.”
How do you feel about bringing Finnish outsider art to London?
“I’m really, really, really, really happy about it. I am very proud to get to come to Britain and show British people that we have great outsider art in Finland. It’s important that we make Pertti’s Choice a good networking opportunity for the disabled who are rooting for arts and entrepreneurship.”
Text: Kaisa Paavola Photo: Klaus Welp