Eight seasons of culture. Sami art from Umea

Eight seasons of culture. Sami art from Umea
31-05-2013 A+ A-
„Rock Art in Sápmi” is a project available in Umea, Sweden, from January 2012. Umea city will also be a European Capital of Culture in 2014. The project is a cycle dedicated to Sami people traditions, symbols and the art of cave paintings for those living in Scandinavia, Finland and Northern Russia.

The cycle is curated by Västerbotten Museum in collaboration with Swedish artists. Thus, books, exhibitions dedicated to traditional and modern art, social projects and other events will be held. An exhibition „ Eight seasons of Sami family” is currently available at the Open-Air Ethnographic Museum which is one of the projects of „Rock Art in Sápmi”. The exhibition was created in cooperation with both cities – Umea and Riga made by Torbjörn Jakobsson, a photographer of the newspaper „Västerbottens-Kuriren” together with Bertil Wallin who is a journalist.

Eight seasons

Eight seasons of Sami calendar are finely divided parts of the year where seasons have irregular lenght while changing in close harmony with nature. Umea is located in the furthermost southern point of Sami territory. Therefore, Sami culture and traditions are important  accents in the programme of the European Capital of Culture, but eight seasons present the leading idea of cultural activities in 2014.

The Rehnfjells are this young Sami family working as deer farmers. They are also in the center of the photo exhibition held in Riga. Therefore, photos reflect daily scenes such as slaughtering reindeer bulls, moving the herd and marking calves. This culture is still alive existing in Northern Sweden, though recognised only by few people. This is why the exhibition is a rare possibility to look at this northern lifestyle.

Torbjörn Jakobsson has managed to catch those fine moments where the deepest nature of deer farmer’ s life through the year is presented. Bertil Wallin’ s textual material adds another dimension for this event collecting them in a catalog of the exhibition. Texts are available in English and Swedish languages.

It' s not only the daily routine showed in photos of Rehnfjells family – a father Juhan, a mother Sofia, and both their sons Niila and Pontus. Doing things together is the jey rule for Sami families survival through many centuries. Collaboration, involvement and transerring experience – those are important issues in the programme of Umea' s 2014 European Capital of Culture.

Västerbotten Museum also keeps valuable evidences about the ancient lifestyle of Sami. Several objects from Sami collection taken from the museum collection are also presented in order to introduce visitors with materials of Sami culture.

Ancient cave paintings

In the meantime a new Sami project starts in Sweden. Umea surroundings still keep many objects of Sami heritage. Thus, a competition is open for those who wish to find ancient cave paintings of Sami. Mushroom pickers, hunters, dog owners, sporting enthusiasts and everyone else are invited, writes Kristina Kalén, the creator of this project.

„Look around when you’ re in forest! Västerbotten Museum invites you to be attentive and ensures that unexplored cave paintings or carvings can still be found,” promises Kalén. Several hundreds of ancient Sami cave paintings are included in the cultural monuments list that are protected by state of Sweden. Still, historians and archaeologists explore new paintings. The newest one was found in summer 2012. All participants are invited to take pictures of their findings in order to send them to the museum with the location where photos were taken. Competition closes in May 15, 2014. A jury of archaelogists will judge all findings and will choose the winner. The prize will be a trip for two persons to Alta, Norway, where the most famous ancient cave paintings of northern countries have been discovered.

Modern trip of Sami

„100 Migratory” is an art project connected with Sami that has been available for several years and is coming to an end in Umea, 2014. The project is made by Monica L. Edmondson, a glass artist who has returned to Nortnern Sweden after four years of studying in Australia. 

She has made one hundred glass vases in all those bright colors of Sami culture. Vases have already "migrated" from the Ulldevis mountains to the rest of the world together with the artist herself and other people. It brings a symbolic message about Sami around the world in order to tell about Swedish glass art and crafts traditions. Although all vases are alike, each of them will bring its own story by 2014. Stories of those trips are completed with photos. To find out more about the project, click here

„100 Migratior” closes in Umea, 2014. Then the exhibition will be available in Västerbotten Museum with a special contemporary dance performance.

To find more information about Sami cultural events in Västerbotten Museum, click here 




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