Luottat means traces in Northern Sámi, and this exhibition shows a selection of Sámi art from Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum’s collection, dating from the past three decades to the present. Central to the display is a large installation by Iver Jåks, a pioneering figure of Sámi art who remains a reference point and inspiration for younger generations.
Jåks’s installation is an experimental work of art with no fixed compositional form. During the course of this exhibition, we are deconstructing and reconstructing it a number of times together with curators, artists, school children and other members of the public. Like many of the other pieces in this exhibition, Jåks’s work raises questions about our understandings of and relationships to art – its traditions, meaning, politics, aesthetics and functions.
While indigenous peoples such as the Sámi inhabit most of the circumpolar north, Svalbard is one of the few places in the Arctic that does not have an indigenous population. What does it mean to exhibit these works of Sámi art in Longyearbyen? What might this art have to say about important Arctic issues such as natural resources, land ownership, national sovereignty and the environment?