Máret Ánne Sara’s artwork Pile o´ Sápmi, exhibited at documenta 14’s Neue Neue Galerie (Neue Hauptpost), Kassel 2017, to be showcased in Oslo
Tuesday 5 – Wednesday 6 December 2017
Karl Johans Gate 22
0026 Oslo, Norway
Following its presentation at documenta 14 in Kassel, Máret Ánne Sara’s work Pile o´ Sápmi will be displayed in Eidsvoll Plass in front of Stortinget (the Norwegian Parliament), Oslo, on 5 and 6 December. Presented as a curtain of 400 reindeer skulls, the piece was nominated one of the top ten artworks at documenta 14, and received critical acclaim internationally. The hanging is part of a larger, eponymous artistic movement where Sara gathers fellow artists to bring attention to Sámi rights and the challenges Indigenous peoples worldwide face on a daily basis. Oslo’s iteration of the project includes various interventions and projects with Sámi, Norwegian and international peers in an act of fraternity in collaboration with Tenthaus and Samisk Hus (The Sami House). Amongst them are Cecilia Vicuña (the renowned Chilean poet, artist and filmmaker featured at documenta 14) and also a special event conceived by Norwegian artist A K Dolven entitled ‘Wandering with Reindeer Heads’, extending through the city and involving dozens of Norwegian citizens. Máret Ánne Sara has also invited the president of the Sámi Parliament in Norway, Aili Keskitalo, to appeal against the crucial political and legal plight of Sámi reindeer herders and the Sámi culture today. She will speak on 6 December.
According to Máret Ánne Sara, Pile o´ Sapmi started as ‘an extended artistic movement accompanying the trial of my little brother.’ Its first appearance was modelled to emulate a mountain of freshly slaughtered reindeer heads crowned by a Norwegian flag at its peak. This work was conceived in 2016 and installed in front of the Indre Finnmark District Court (Sápmi/Northern Norway), where Jovsset Ánte Sara (the artist’s brother) debated the imposed slaughtering of half of his herd with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in court. It was here that Jovsset Ánte Sara claimed such a major herd reduction would ensure his inevitable bankruptcy and thereby also force him away from his traditional way of life, his culture and ultimately his inherited rights.
Pile o´Sapmi is directly inspired by a historic photo Sara found on the Internet titled Pile of Bones. This related to the destruction by Americans settlers during the mid-18th century of the livelihood of countless Native Americans, through the enforced near-extinction of tens of millions of buffalo that had roamed freely upon the Great Plains since the last Ice Age.
Jovsset Ánte Sara won the first lawsuit in the Indre Finnmark District Court, as well as the second at the Hålogaland Court of Appeal. The case has now reached the Supreme Court of Oslo, and will be heard on 5 and 6 December.
'Pile o' Sápmi Supreme' by Máret Ánne Sara is produced by the artist together with Tenthaus Oslo, Samisk Hus in Oslo (The Sami House) and Oslo Sámiid Searvi – OSS (Oslo Sameforening / Oslo Sami Association). The project is supported by URO - KORO (Kunst i offentlige rom)'s grant scheme for art in outdoor public places, and Sámiráđđi (Samerådet / The Saami Council).
Máret Ánne Sara
Máret Ánne Sara is an artist whose work deals with political and social issues affecting the indigenous Sámi people and its reindeer-herding communities. Sara has created posters, CD / LP covers, stage visuals and fabric prints for a number of Sami artists, designers and institutions, and has exhibited in the field of visual arts since 2003. Furthermore, she is an editor, journalist and published novelist. Her debut book Ilmmid gaskkas (In Between Worlds) was nominated for the Nordic Council’s Children and Young People’s Literature Prize in 2014, and recently presented along with other works by the artist on the Southbank, London. She is one of the founding members of the Dáiddadállu/ Artists Collective Kautokeino. Sara’s ongoing project Pile o’Sápmi was one of those showcased as part of the documenta 14 exhibition at the Neue Neue Galerie (Neue Hauptpost), Kassel 2017.
About the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA)
The Office for Contemporary Art Norway is a non-profit foundation created by the Norwegian Ministries of Culture and of Foreign Affairs in 2001. Its principle aim is to foster dialogue between art practitioners in Norway and the international arts scene, and support artists in Norway in their activities around the world. As a result, OCA’s discursive, exhibition, publication, residency and visitor programmes focus on bringing to Norway the plurality of practices and histories at the forefront of international artistic debates, insofar as they are concerned with actively participating in such debates nationally and internationally. OCA has been responsible for Norway’s contribution to the visual arts section of the Venice Biennale since 2001.