Project Description

“Why did I paint the Bread queue in the glass corridor of Lappeenranta Art Museum?

Three times a week I see the bread queue from my studio window. Anyone of us can be one of  those in the queue.”

Artist Helena Laine

The head of the bread queues is not visible

Each week 20 000 to 25 000 people are standing in bread queues In Finland.

The first regular bread queues were born in Finland during the recession of the 1990s.

Opportunities to succeed in life are not all equally good.

Social background and wealth affect.

Bad luck can meet anyone of us.

Who wants to stand for hours and hours and days and days for fun in the rain and frost?

Who stands for pleasure or for greed in the queue?

Shopping in the store and the freedom to choice your food and things is another thing than queuing several hours a week in the bread queue –  in the rain and frost.

80 % of people in the queue consider that it’s the “must”.

Some people come to take this help for having their money for childrens hobbies. More than 100 000 children live in Finland in families receiving income support; this is one clear measur of poverty in Finland.

The reason for coming to the bread queues is for example the low level of basic social security, reduced health, high cost of living and rising unemployment.

In these queues stands as well old and young people and people with a family or living alone.

Since the 1990s, the group of people in need of food assistance has changed and expanded.

The queue includes old, middle-aged and young people, women and men, single parents, low-income retirees, family and single-minded, unemployed, physically or mentally ill, temporary workers,low-paid, highly educated, immigrants and students.

The common thing is that income is not enough for spending. There are people suffering from hunger.

There are also lonely people to whom this is the only way to meet other people.

Although we are speaking more and more openly of bread queues than in the past, for many people this is a situation associated with shame and fears about what others think.

Common meals have become a complement to the bread queues, but there is a lot of work to arrange them regulary. The current bread queues administrators are not excited. Resources are simply not enough.

“Are the bread queues a way to treat poverty in Finland in the 2010s?”.”
Professor Juho Saari, researcher of poverty