Sámi Contemporary – an exhibition at the local art museum Korundi in Rovaniemi

Sámi Contemporary hosts the art work of 20 Sámi artists. The exhibition opened yesterday with a day-long seminar, and started with an introduction by Hanna Horsberg Hansen on “traditions in transitions”, where she discussed different approaches to understanding contemporary Sámi art. Rather than insisting on a pure historical perspective – i.e. analysing traditions as they have been shaped in the past, and comparing those moments of history with current observations – she argued for a concept that explores how tradition is made in the contemporary. An approach that seems to accommodate Sámi concepts of time much better and which relates to the Maori saying: The past is never behind, it is always in front of a person. Following Hansen’s lecture, Sámi artists gave presentations introducing their work, and telling about their motivation and ideas.

Sámi contemporary

Ailu Valle introduced the lyrics of his rap music, which he later performed at the official opening of the exhibition (see the video on facebook). He explained how he had started imitating American rappers before finding a liking in rapping in Finnish and finally in Northern Sámi, which is “the language of my deepest thoughts”, but which he considered impossible to combine with rap music at first. Marita Isobel Solberg, a performance artist, visual artist and musician, introduced her work which has taken her around the world, for instance, to places in Japan, the United States and Sicily. Synnøve Persen, Markku Laakso and Annika Dahlsten, and Liselotte Wajstedt continued with presentations of their art work.

The exhibition is open until 25 May 2014, and is accompanied by a series of lectures (usually on Mondays at 6pm) thematically related to the exhibition.

If you happen to be around, don’t miss it!

Hannah Strauss-Mazzullo