In response to the gender and Indigenous gaps in the collection, Gába presents works by living women artists with strong roots in Sápmi. Romsa/Tromsø is a meeting place across culture, ethnicity, nationality and social background.
There are more than 140 different nationalities represented in town. How is this reflected (or not) in Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum’s collection? What are some of the gaps? For instance, 28% of the works in the collection are made by women artists, and only 6.6% by artists who identify as Sámi.
Several of the artists represented in this exhibition identify as Sámi, while others see themselves as northerners. Gába is the North Sámi word for a skilled woman, one who has the power to do something and possesses considerable skill, knowledge, proficiency and intelligence. Each one of the artists, through material-based objects, tells stories that have a strong connection to this place. As such, these distinguished works make Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum’s collection unique. Here the three main themes are: sorrow, “girl power” and the sea.
As female knowledge-bearers the artists use everyday local materials – reindeer hide, fish skin, wool, sand, soil, animal bone cast in plaster and dolomite, and repurposed clothing – to speak to leaving no traces and how cultural heritage related to women’s making practices stands in contrast to capitalism and its consumer culture. Tacit and embedded knowledge characterize the works. The techniques the artists use have been handed down across many generations, and in some cases almost forgotten. Fish skin and animal hide tanning and textile techniques like weaving, crocheting, sewing require much repetitive hand work from the artist.
Irene Snarby is curatorial advisor for Gába.
The artists constituting Gába include:
Peaká Heiká Bigá Nilsá Ragnel Rosmare / Rose-Marie Huuva (b. 1943)
Annelise Josefsen (b. 1949)
Aslaug Magdalena Juliussen (b. 1953)
Inghild Karlsen (b. 1952)
Merethe Ella Márjá Kuhmunen (b. 1990)
Inger Blix Kvammen (b. 1954)
Ingrid Larssen (b. 1962)
Charlotte Nilsen (b. 1969)
Solveig Ovanger (b. 1952)
Raisa Porsanger (b. 1988)
Ingunn Utsi (b. 1948)
Linn Rebekka Åmo (b. 1978)