The exhibition will discuss the recent history of Sami artistic activism in and across the Nordic region (Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia), contextualising it within a growing, planetary indigenous discourse which does not simply explore post-colonial legacies and ecological concerns, but which questions the very notion of modernity itself.
The history of the Sami revolt against the state of Norway in particular stems back to the Kautokeino revolt in 1852 (Guovdageaidnu, Sápmi/Northern Norway); it intensified during Norway’s independence from Sweden in 1905 and continued up until the Alta Action controversy of 1979. Whilst some historians have claimed that the creation of a Sami Parliament in 1989 in Kárášjohka (Karasjok, Sápmi/Northern Norway) brought this chapter to a close, today a new trans-Nordic wave of Sami artists and activists are challenging this claim and joining forces with a broader indigenous and artistic movement across the world.
‘Let the River Flow’ takes as its starting point the artistic and activist practices of the radical Máze Sami Artists Group, central to the revolts and unprecedented hunger strikes in protest at the intended damming of the Alta river. The damming of Norway’s most famous watercourse inundated Sami land of cultural and economic relevance. The exhibition will also present photographic material as well as ephemera from local people’s archive. A younger generation of Sami, as well as other indigenous and non-indigenous artists and thinkers, will be invited to consider the significance of the Alta Action today across the globe.
‘Let the River Flow’ will unfold as an exhibition, symposium and a reader of indigenous thinking.
Artists will include: Áillohaš, Nabil Ahmed, Dáiddadállu/Artists Collective Kautokeino, Aage Gaup, Josef Halse, Berit Marit Hætta, Karrabing Film Collective, Keviselie, Britta Marakatt-Labba, Joar Nango and Tanya Busse, Rannveig Persen, Synnøve Persen, Arvid Sveen and Elin Mar Øyen Vister amongst others.