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Office for Contemporary Art Norway Presents “The Sámi Pavilion” at the Venice Biennale


Curated by Liisa-Rávná Finbog, Katya García-Antón, and Beaska Niillas, “The Sámi Pavilion” celebrates the art and sovereignty of the Indigenous Sámi people, whose nation extends across the Nordic countries and into the Kola Peninsula in Russia. Conceived as a project of relations across generations, holistic Sámi knowledge, and Sámi spiritual thinking, the artists of the pavilion present works that aim to repair traumas inflicted by colonialism, asserting Sámi wisdom and spiritual values.

Pauliina Feodoroff’s performances and video installation are generated collectively, to free Sámi bodies and minds from colonially enforced forms of existence while simultaneously fundraising for the rewilding of ancestral forests and rivers threatened by industrial policies. The next performances will take place on August 27–28 and October 21–22 at 3pm.

Máret Ánne Sara’s suspended sculptures and olfactory works highlight the centrality of reindeer in Sápmi, not only as material for survival but as kin in Sámi life, knowledge, and spirituality.

Anders Sunna’s hexalogy of paintings and sound bears witness to 50 years of legal struggles to defend his family’s forest reindeer-herding rights, outlawed on their own land by the state. The sixth section of the installation hopes to embody a vision of resilience and empowerment for the decade to come. 

At a time in which the Arctic region is experiencing the unprecedented impact of climate change, the advocacy of these artists resists and overcomes the repression of Sámi worldviews. While personal, their efforts also reflect wider concerns of Sápmi today.

Extended programming at “The Sámi Pavilion” includes ÁRRAN 360°, premiering 360-degree films by Sámi digital artists; the ongoing TBA21– Academy’s Ocean Fellowship 2022; aabaakwad 2022: “The Sámi Pavilion”, a series of international Indigenous-led conversations on Indigenous art that took place during the pavilion’s opening week in Venice.

A new publication by OCA and Valiz entitled Čatnosat. The Sámi Pavilion, Indigenous Art, Knowledge and Sovereignty provides further explorations into Sámi art, wisdom, memory, and ecology.

For more information on “The Sámi Pavilion,” visit oca.no.

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