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

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

  1. fstammle says:

    Our colleague Francis will do a lecture today in connection to this exhibition.
    Francis Joy works as a researcher at the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland Faculty of Art and Design. For the past eight years, Francis has conducted fieldwork and interviews with Sami persons regarding shamanism and rock paintings in Finland, as well as extensive research into the old Sami shaman drums which survived the Christian purges of the 17th and 18th centuries.
    A lecture on this topic will be presented this evening at 18.00pm at Korundi Art Museum, Rovaniemi.

    The lecture has 2 parts to it, the first part addresses new findings in Finland’s pre-historic rock paintings which are dated between 3.500 – 7000 years old; of spirit figures which are of a particular design and status, that share many parallels with similar spirit figures found painted on the heads of Sami shaman drums from Sweden and Norway. Much of the literature published about the discovery of rock paintings in Finland, suggests that the origins of the artwork lies in Finnish culture in an ancient past. This new evidence challenges these old views and seeks a clearer and more comprehensive understanding of a possible explanation for the cultural context for the paintings.
    The second part of the presentation addresses vandalism and graffiti at over 10% of rock painting sites in present day Finland which is caused by tourism and purposeful destruction. The rock paintings are irreplaceable source of historical knowledge which have immense value for the cultures in Finland, and due to a lack of protection many sites remain vulnerable to further damage. Everyone is welcome

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