• Visualizing the present: current issues within contemporary visual Sami art - an analysis of Sami artists and their art in Oslo, Norway

      Horn-Hanssen, Birte Marie (2011-12)
      Until recently, contemporary visual Sami art has been little studied. However there is continuous activity within the Sami art world that is evident from the large amount of contemporary visual Sami art exhibits in northern Scandinavia. This paper provides an exploratory analysis of the current issues and artistic language contemporary visual Sami artists who live in Oslo, Norway are concerned with. Through contextualizing the artworks within a post-colonial framework highlighting the dominant Sami historical, political and societal narratives from the 1970s until now, and contrasting them with the official Norwegian image of Norway as a unified "oil and gas nation," a "human rights nation" or a "fishing nation" the artworks question dominant historical perspectives and become visual inquiries of the Sami's political and societal situation currently or in recent history in Norway. This study demonstrates that the current issues visualized among contemporary Sami artists in Oslo are humans' relationship to the natural environment; collective and personal identity; and political and cultural rights. The study shows that the artists use their Sami background as a specific context to visualize these generic issues. Finally, the analysis emphasizes that contemporary visual Sami artists have transcultural backgrounds and use transnational artistic language, themes, and expressions and therefore visualizes new and emerging fluid transnational Sami identities.