Born in 1949 in rural eastern Finland, Finnish artist Miina Äkkijyrkkä was surrounded by cows from an early age. "My mother used to put me in the cow pen because I was a real handful as a child. So the cows and calves became my friends and family," she says.
Äkkijyrkkä always knew that she was destined to be a sculptor and an artist. After doing courses in animal husbandry as a teenager, she was admitted to Finland's Arts Academy where she graduated in 1973.
Today she is one of Finland's most well-known artists, with an award-winning body of work mostly focusing on her beloved cattle. Äkkijyrkkä's huge metal cow statues made from recycled vehicles are now landmarks in many Finnish cities. Her paintings, drawings and sculptures have been exhibited internationally.