Andreas Alariesto was born on the 11th of December 1900 in the village of Riesto in Sodankylä County. He died on the 29th of November 1989 in Sodankylä. The area where Andreas Alariesto grew up (the villages of Sompio and Lokka and their environs) is for the most part now covered by the man-made lake Lokka. During his life-time Andreas Alariesto had many professions and he travelled widely in the north of Europe including Petsamo and Norway. The experience he gained from life and his knowledge of northern Europe are extensive. He was an artist since childhood and youth. Along with painting and drawing, his hobbies included photography and collecting natural history specimens. But Andreas Alariesto´s youthful works have been lost in one way or another, a fact which- when considering his present day artistic level – is quite regrettable. He was also skilled in making miniatures.
“In my opinon, the texts for all the pictures say too little. The pictures open up so many kinds of views before us, that a book could be written about each one of the pictures.”
Andreas Alariesto had a truly natural gift. He had not received any kind of education in art, nor he had the possibility to study the works of leading Finnish and Nordic artists. Everything springs from his own natural talent and from his memories of traditional Sámi folklore. The result is a vast output of artistic and ethnological importance which is hard to match anywhere and which is in a category by itself.