Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum/Davvi Norga Dáiddamusea is delighted to present A Worm’s Eye View from a Bird’s Beak, the first solo exhibition in Europe of artist and musician Raven Chacon. On view from 16 March through 1 September 2024, A Worm’s Eye View from a Bird’s Beak presents newly commissioned works, alongside important pieces from the last 25 years of Chacon’s outstanding career.

A recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant in 2023 and the first Native American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2022, Chacon works across composition, notation, installation, film and performance to highlight Indigenous resistance and empower Indigenous ways of being, knowing and doing.  


The exhibition in Tromsø/Romsa is orientated along a vertical axis, starting from the ground floor and reaching up into the attic, a space hitherto unknown to the public. This spatialisation of the works echoes a pivotal notion to Navajo and Sámi philosophies, which points to the vertical neighbours that exist across concurrent worlds above and below us. The works presented in the exhibition draw connections between the experiences of Indigenous resistance across different continents, emphasizing the shared struggles and the potential for empowered Indigenous futures that can be realized through building networks of solidarity.  Chacon’s practice generates alternative forms of making community, with and across sound, beyond Western staff notation and beyond the reach of colonialism. 

Chacon has a long-standing friendship with the Sámi communities, and the exhibition premieres several new works made with Sámi peers resulting from stays in the area as well as a residency at Lásságammi, the home of the legendary Sámi artist, musician and land-guardian Áillohaš (1943–2001). For Four (River Valley) (2024), Manouevering the Apostles (2024), and …the sky ladder (2024), emerged from dialogues and collaborative undertakings with Sámi filmmakers/land guardians Marja Bål Nango and Smávut Iηgir (and their relatives in the reindeer-herding Bål Nango family) and with joikers Ingá-Máret Gaup-Juuso, Risten-Anine Gaup, Ánde Somby, and Niko Valkeapää. The beating heart of these new works lies in their connection between community and land, between notation and relation. The artworks exist beyond the video and sculptural installations found in the museum galleries. They exist as possible alternative ways of being by joining in community, sharing knowledge, listening to each other and the land, and claiming the indivisibility from the land and each other.   

Chacon’s commitment to family, both blood relations and chosen family, is striking in For Zitkála-Šá (2017-2020), a series that draws its name from a Yankton Dakota woman who blazed a pioneering path as a composer, writer, translator, musician, educator and activist at the turn of the 20th century. The series features twelve musical scores, each paired with a corresponding text that honours Native American, Indigenous, Mestiza or First Nation women whom Chacon knows personally and whose practice in sound, performance, composition and music struck the artist as an essential contribution to a decolonial theory of change. The prominence of women, not only in Chacon’s own life, but in the history of Native resistance to colonisation, recurs in several pieces in the exhibition.   

Chacon’s work invites the audience to listen deeply beyond the recognisable sound of the voice to the spaces and relations in between people (often mistakenly perceived in the Western canon as silence). Silent Choir (Standing Rock) (2016/2022) relays the tension of the resistance led by the Standing Rock Sioux community that brought together hundreds of people (some of them Sámi) during the No Dakota Access Pipeline Protest. The work encourages one to listen to the mere weight of their presence, to acknowledge their resistance and confrontation.   

Surveying his practice as an empowerment of Indigenous ways of thinking and living, A Worm's Eye View from a Bird's Beak provides an overview of the powerful approach Chacon has developed across a variety of media to resurge community and explore the depth of Indigenous kinship to ancestral land.  

Chacon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning orchestral composition, Voiceless Mass, will be performed in Bodø/Bådåddjo/Buvvda (during its year as European Cultural Capital) on 7 June 2024 in collaboration with the Arctic Philarmonic, and Bodø 2024. The concert will also feature Chacon’s orchestral compositions, Biyan (2011), as well as performances by the Sámi composer, Elina Waage Mikalsen. A conversation at Stormen Concert Hall will take place earlier that day, between Raven Chacon and Patricia Marroquin Norby, Associate Curator of Native American Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.  

The exhibition at NNKM is curated by Katya García-Antón, Director and Chief Curator of Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum/Davvi Norga Dáiddamusea.  

A Worm’s Eye View from a Bird’s Beak is organised by Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum/Davvi Norga Dáiddamusea and the Swiss Institute, New York.  

The exhibition is accompanied by a limited edition from the series Field Recordings (1999), Chacon’s recordings of Navajo landscapes that unsettle the colonial myth of terra nullius. The recordings are amplified to maximum volume and printed onto postcards that function as vinyl records.  

The first monograph dedicated to Raven Chacon's practice is edited by Katya García-Antón, Stefanie Hessler and Alison Coplan, with texts by Raven Chacon, Aruna D´Souza, Eric-Paul Riege, Dylan Robinson and Patrick Nickleson, Anthony Huberman, Lou Cornum, Marja Bål Nango, Smávut Iŋgir, Sigbjørn Skåden, Candice Hopkins, Stefanie Hessler and Katya García-Antón. The publication is designed by Stoodio Santiago da Silva and distributed by Sternberg Press. 

PDF icon Press release (PDF file)

Read the interview with Raven Chacon in Mousse Magazine
The interview is in the latest issue of Mousse Magazine. Here you can read about his works around sound and agency, replication and tone in music composition and artistic practice, and disrupting harmony and identity clichés. In this interview, Chacon and Hammer Museum curator Pablo José Ramírez discuss the artist's life in Navajo ancestral lands and his relationship with sound, with western music forms, as well as new works in the exhibition made in collaboration with Sámi artists (built upon long standing friendships and global Indigenous solidarity).


NRK Sápmi
April 2023:(link is external) - Pulitzer Prize winner makes art to shed light on interference with nature in Indigenous areas. Award-winning composer Raven Chacon is in Sápmi to build up knowledge and be inspired by magnificent nature.

15 March 2024: (link is external)- Indigenous Resilience: Interview with Raven Chacon.

18 March 2024:(link is external) - Exhibition opening in Tromsø: - Have had similar problems to the Sámi... Raven Chacon is in Tromsø to open his exhibition, which includes elements of Sámi stories.

14 March 2024:(link is external) - A place heretofore unknown


New York Times review
New York Times’ Holland Cotter has reviewed Raven Chacon’s exhibition, A Worm’s Eye View From a Bird’s Beak at the Swiss Institute. Link to the review: "Raven Chacon's Sound-and-Art Symphony At the Swiss Institute, a Pulitzer Prize winner makes art that is warmed - socially and spiritually - by hope."

Financial Times review


Curator Katya García-Antón
Phone: +47 469 74 036
Head of mediation Astrid Rotvold Nilsen
+47 98692741