Exhibition is included in a paid General Admission ticket, except on Free First Thursday. On the first Thursday of every month, General Admission is free and tickets to this exhibition may be purchased for $5 at the door.
Organized by artist-curators Tomas Colbengtson, Gunvor Guttorm, Dan Jåma, and Britta Marakatt-Labba, Arctic Highways invites you to explore contemporary art and handicraft by Indigenous artists from Sápmi, Canada, and Alaska and consider “Arctic Highways”—channels for the fluid exchange of art and culture—that existed long before the artificial borders of nation-states. The Arctic’s thriving cultural and spiritual communities are represented by the 12 artists whose work in a variety of media is displayed.
Matti Aikio (b. 1980) comes from Vuotso, a small reindeer-herding Sámi village in northern Finland. He earned a bachelor of arts from Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art in 2012. Aikio is a visual artist who works with photography and video, as well as with sculptural installations, sound art and music. He has also been a DJ since 2009. Aikio is interested in the concept of nomadism as a philosophy, culture and lifestyle. Along with his artistic practice, he is involved in nomadic reindeer herding, which his family has practiced for centuries.
Tomas Colbengtson (b. 1957) was born in the small Sami village of Björkvattnet, Tärna in northern Sweden. In his works he often refers to Sami culture, investigating cultural identity, history and indigenous people’s contemporary situation. Tomas explores images, colors and forms based on the Sami culture and the Nordic Scandinavian landscape. He is experimenting with combinations of media and material and has developed a new way to print screen prints in overlay glass often working with screen-print on metal, (aluminum, brass, silver) and working with etching and digital art technique. He is assistant professor in Fine Printmaking at Konstfack, National College of Art Craft and Design, Stockholm. Colbengtson has been working as an artist since 1991 and has exhibited in many countries. Colbengtson is represented in the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Norway and at The Sami Parliament in Karasjok, Norway.
Gunvor Guttorm (b. 1958) in Karasjok, Norway. She is an Professor in duodji (Sámi arts and crafts, traditional art, applied art) at Sámi allaskuvla/Sámi University of Applied Sciences, Guovdageaidnu/Kautokeino in Norway, where she also previously was rector/principle. Her research is interconnected with cultural expression in the Sámi and indigenous societies, especially duodji. The focus of her research deals with duodji in a contemporary setting, and indigenous people’s context. She also has had the fortune to work with elderly duodji artisans and share their knowledge in traditional techniques. She has written several articles about how the traditional knowledge of Sámi art and craft is transformed to the modern lifestyle. In an Indigenous world, she has participated as invited speaker as well as presenter at Indigenous research congresses. Guttorm has also participated in exhibitions in Sápmi and abroad.
Maureen Gruben(b. 1963) is an artist based in Tuktoyaktuk, North West Territories, Canada. Inuvialuk artist Maureen Gruben graduated with a BFA in 2012 from the University of Victoria. She has since exhibited regularly across Canada and internationally. Her work is held in national and private collections. Prior to her BFA, Gruben studied at Kelowna Okanagan College of Fine Arts (Diploma in Fine Arts, 1990), the Enʼowkin Centre in Penticton (Diploma in Fine Arts and Creative Writing, 2000 and Certificate in Indigenous Political Development & Leadership, 2001). She has been recognized by Kelownaʼs En’owkin Centre with both their Eliza Jane Maracle Award (1998/99) and their Overall Achievement Award (1999/2000).
Marja Helander (b. 1965), is a Sámi photographer, video artist and film-maker with roots both in Helsinki and Utsjoki. In her work, she has studied various themes including her own identity between the Finnish and the Sámi culture. Since 1992, Helander’s work has been exhibited in two dozen solo exhibitions and over 50 group exhibitions in Finland and abroad. In her art, Marja Helander often builds from her own background between two cultures, the Finnish and the Sámi culture. What drives Marja as an artist is curiosity and the willingness to always learn something new.
Dan Jåma, (b. 1954), is a filmmaker and still photographer living in Luleå, in northern Sweden. He grew up in a reindeer herder family in Norway. At the age of 23 he was employed at the Swedish National Television as a cinematographer. 19 years later he started to work as a freelance to be able to work with still photography and to direct his own films. He is multitasking between teaching, filming documentaries all over the world and working with book projects in Sápmi. Dan is represented in RiddoDuottarMuseat, The Sámi Museum in Karasjok.
Sonya Kelliher-Combs (b. 1969) received her BFA from University of Alaska, Fairbanks, MFA from Arizona State University. Her work has been shown in numerous individual and group exhibitions, including Sakahan (National Gallery of Canada), HIDE: Skin As Material Metaphor (National Museum of American Indian) and SITELINES: Much Wider Than a Line (SITE Santa Fe). She is a recipient of the prestigious United States Arts Fellowship, Joan Mitchell Fellowship, Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art, Rasmuson Fellowship and is a recipient of the 2005 Anchorage Mayors Arts Award and 2010 Alaska Governor’s Individual Artist Award. Her work is included in the collections of the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Anchorage Museum, Alaska State Museum, University of Alaska Museum of the North, Eiteljorg Museum, and National Museum of the American Indian. Kelliher-Combs currently lives and works in Anchorage, Alaska.
Laila Susanne Kuhmunen
Laila Susanna Kuhmunen (b. 1978), lives in Jokkmokk, Sweden. She has a master’s degree in Duodji (Sámi craft and art) from Sámi allaskuvla/Sámi University of Applied Sciences in Kautokeino, Norway. In her work she expresses her Sámi background and culture by using different materials.
Britta Marakatt-Labba(b. 1951), is a visual artist living in Övre Soppero, Sápmi, Northern Sweden. She grew up in a family of reindeer herders and then studied art at Sunderby Folkhögskola and at the School of Design and Crafts at the University of Gothenburg, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Textile Art in 1978. In addition to having fulfilled many public commissions, Marakatt-Labba has worked extensively with book illustrations, scenography and graphic design. The retrospective ‘Cosmos’ at the Bildmuseet in Umeå in 2008 included over 100 of her works, and a major monograph, Embroidered Stories. Britta Marakatt-Labba (Broderade berättelser. Britta Marakatt-Labba), was published in 2010. Marakatt-Labba’s work forms part of many public and private collections throughout Scandinavia.
Olof Marsja (b. 1986) Gällivare, Sweden, based in Gothenburg, has trained at Konstfack, University of Arts, Crafts & Design in Stockholm, and works mainly with sculptural expressions where the organic, industrially produced and the handmade are put together into ambiguous figures and objects. In a playful and serious way, he addresses issues of identity, the present and history. The sculptures that emerge are hybrid figures that slide between categories such as visual arts, crafts, imagination, reality, man and animals. Olof Marsja has recently exhibited at Havremagasinet in Boden, Göteborgs Konsthall, Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm, 3:e Våningen i Gothenburg Gallery Steinsland & Berliner in Stockholm, IKOLONI in Malmö, Stenungsunds Konsthall and Gallery Box in Gothenburg.
Meryl McMaster (b. 1988) is a Canadian artist with nêhiyaw (Plains Cree), British and Dutch ancestry based in the city of Ottawa. McMaster is the recipient of the Scotiabank New Generation Photography Award, the REVEAL Indigenous Art Award, Charles Pachter Prize for Emerging Artists, the Canon Canada Prize, the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, the OCAD U Medal and was long listed for the 2016 Sobey Art Award. Her work has been acquired by significant public collections within Canada and the United States, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Ottawa Art Gallery, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Heard Museum, the Eiteljorg Museum, and the National Museum of the American Indian. Her work is predominantly photography based, incorporating the production of props, sculptural garments and performance forming a synergy that transports the viewer out of the ordinary and into a space of contemplation and introspection. She explores the self in relation to land, lineage, history, culture and the more-than-human world.
Máret Ánne Sara
Máret Ánne Sara (b. 1983), is an artist and author. She is from a reindeer herding family in Kautokeino and currently works in her hometown. Máret Ánne is the initiator of Dáiddadállu Artist Collective. She has published two novels and was nominated for the Nordic Council’s Children’s and Young Literature Prize in 2014 for her debut book “Ilmmid gaskkas” (published in Norwegian in 2014 and in English in 2016). The follow-up “Doaresbealde doali” was published in 2014. Máret Ánne has exhibited visual art since 2003 and often deals with political and social issues, from a Sami and reindeer-social perspective. Sara has designed posters, CD / LP covers, scene visuals and fabric prints for a number of Sami artists, designers and institutions. She is said to have a distinctive style and a recognizable visual expression. She presented the contemporary art project Pile o’Sápmi, d at Documenta 14 in Kassel in 2017 and will together with two other Sámi artists exhibit at the Nordic Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale 2022.
Arctic Highways is a traveling exhibition produced by Gullers Group in Stockholm, exhibition designers Igor and Ilkka Isaksson, TYP Kulturkapital, and the exhibition curating team.