Sigrid Lien, Addressing the Landscape: Postcolonial Experiences in Contemporary Sami Art
This paper will discuss the way that contemporary Sami artists have come to employ the landscape as an arena for post-colonial reflections through photography. To some extent this could be seen as a reflection of the art of the majority society of Norway, where there has been a strong tradition ever since the 19th century to use the landscape as an artistic vehicle for such identity-making purposes. In the young nation striving to establish an identity, the wild and sublime nature was seen as a mirror, something that could reflect the character and temperament of the Norwegian people. At the same time, Norway also took part in a colonial enterprise within its own borders: the colonization of Sápmi, the Sami areas in the north. Today many Sami artists are addressing the landscape in the Northern areas as part of the revitalization of Sami culture. The paper will however argue that the northern landscapes are not approached as a mirror in these contemporary photographs, but rather as a place where post-colonial experiences of the present are performed. As much of the Sami material culture was destroyed after the German scorched-earth politics during World War II, the landscape is one of the remaining places where Sami culture and cosmology may be retrieved or rejuvenated. Some images, sounds or other media used in the following presentation are subject to copyright restrictions that prevent them being shown. In order to provide a complete record of the conference, these items have been blurred or silenced. Should we obtain permission to use these images, sounds and other media in the future the films will be updated.