Image Kari Heimonen, Ossi Pihlaja's donation collection, Sinkka.

Sherwood Rocks

A Hollywood-style Sherwood sign appeared on the hillside of Keinukallio in Kerava one night in December 2015. Kerava’s nickname was first used in the 1970s, when the city’s Swedish name Kervo was altered into Sherwood in the local youth slang inspired by American culture.

Sherwood Rocks is a tribute to youth, music, and communal spirit. The exhibition is based on a research project that took place in 2020–2021. We interviewed dozens of people, who lived and spent their youth in Kerava in the 1970s and 1980s, collected pictures and memories. Their stories tell about a city where the youth took actively part on shaping a culture of their own.

The exhibition is named after American Graffiti, an American film about young people in a small town. The film, which premiered in Finland in 1975, inspired a huge fifties boom with Teddy & The Tigers from Kerava as the brightest star of its music scene. The youth widely adopted influences from the fifties and the style was visible in the streets of Kerava.
From the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, Kerava was a forerunner in music and youth culture.

After Teddy & The Tigers, Kermu, the honest music association of Kerava, organized club nights, gigs and training facilities for bands. Several well-known bands and top music professionals rose within the association.

During the 1980s, Finland was a different country than today. It was a time of a unified culture that did not always consider different minorities, nor recognize symbols that are nowadays regarded as clearly racist. In the exhibition, these blind spots have been placed inside old school desks, places of learning.

The exhibition dates back from the time of rocker culture and peace marches to the aftermath of recession in the 1990s, when youngsters gathered in an indoor amusement park in Kerava to party and dance. There were Yankee cars hanging from the ceiling as people span in rides, played Nintendo games, and watched Hollywood movies.

”In youth, the long-term plan is tomorrow.” – AP