The birth of Mänttä's paper industry from an other point of view

Serlachius Headquarters 4 February — 19 November 2023

The exhibition Genesis by Ahmed Al-Nawas and Minna Henriksson offers an alternative perspective on the origin of Mänttä’s paper industry. The artists highlight the role of the workers as well as the financial and foreign policy motives that guided the actions of the leaders of the Serlachius company.

The works communicate with Lennart Segerstråle’s (1892–1975) frieze Genesis of Mänttä, 1937, that runs around the lobby in Serlachius Headquarters, i.e. the former head office of the Serlachius company. In the painting, the history of Mänttä is the result of the actions of one man, G. A. Serlachius. A second reference is the fresco on the ceiling of the Serlachius Manor library, Birth of Literature, 1935. In the work, a heavenly force is involved in a creative process. 

The Genesis exhibition depicts the founding of the Serlachius company as a collective process rather than the achievement of one man. Along with the management of the mill, the workers also participate, by organising and applying their collective strength and through industrial action to achieve their demands.

Image: Minna Henriksson and Ahmed Al-Nawas, Genesis, 2022. Photo: Katja Tähjä.


See the interview on exhibition Genesis. Pauli Sivonen discusses with Minna Henriksson and Ahmed Al-Nawas.

More information

Read additional information on the exhibition.


Genesis – A Battle of Values provides an in-depth background to the exhibition at the Serlachius Headquarters.