Fringe refers to the outer edge, the margin or the periphery. When something is regarded as peripheral, marginal or extreme in relation to something, it often needs to be respected and protected. The exhibition makes connections through art and crafts, showing works by artists who have studied the dialogue themes from various perspectives with handmade techniques. This Arctic context is diverse, including dialogue with nature, people in the Arctic region, aesthetic experience, generations, traditions, and indigenous and non-indigenous art and culture. All those aspects are important factors for the sustainable future of Arctic art and culture. The dialogue themes have dimensions of cultural sustainability and issues connected to the ownership of culture, the transformation of traditions and the intercultural and the multicultural nature of the Arctic communities, fostering resilience through reflections of the North.
Laila Susanna Kuhmunen, The Karesuando Traditional Costume Adapted to Special Needs, 2016, Polyester
The artworks shown at Fringe reflect on different aspects of our existence today. In the exhibition, Sami artists who use craft and cultural knowledge in the context of Sámi duodji are featured with their indigenous traditions in an interesting dialogue with artists who use handcraft traditions based on contemporary settings. The exhibition also consists of a variety of threads to sustainability, including cultural heritage in relation to contemporary art. The works in the exhibition address issues that are everyone’s concern, such as different projects that allow visitors to participate.
The collaboration aims to shed light on cultural awareness and create rich Arctic dialogue. In this exhibition, the artists come from Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and the United States. The project started as a Nordic initiative, but the project team decided to invite participants from Russia and the United States to extend the dialogue about the Arctic. The Russian artist Gluklya (Natalya Pershina-Yakimanskaya), who has participated in the Venice Biennale, will give a workshop connection to the exhibition. She both shows her own work and creates installations with master’s students, examining the importance of specific local narratives. Gluklya advocates for the horizontal, grassroots tradition that characterises much of her site-specific work, which follows in the footsteps of the Russian avant-garde.
The other invited artist from Russia is Ustina Yakovleva. Her practice revolves around deconstructing and decontextualising nature’s aesthetics with labour-intensive contemplative practices.
Gunvor Guttorm, Laila Susanna Kuhmunen and Maarit Magga are Sámi crafters and knowledge holders on duodji. Their contemporary art is strongly influenced by Sámi heritage and culture. Hildur Bjarnadottir and Louise Harris from Iceland refer to the correlation between nature and culture in their textile work. Ásthildur Jónsdóttir will invite visitors to reflect on many stories from all over the Arctic region in the participatory installation Arctic Aesthetics.
Two artist collectives from Finland and the University of Lapland have joined the exhibition. Maria Huhmarniemi, Elina Härkönen, Miia Mäkinen and Jari Rinne examine a shared cultural heritage of the Arctic through traditional knitting patterns. Their work is based on collaboration with knitters around the Arctic who have shared their knowledge of their regional knitting traditions. The other collective, comprising Antti Stöckell, Antti Jokinen and Tapani Saraste, is working on the shelter theme in a site-specific participatory art project.
Alison Aune is from the United States, and her work is inspired by Scandinavian patterns and motifs. It draws on a feminist aesthetic, honouring traditional folk arts and domestic arts. Many of her patterns are based on her research on Scandinavian textiles and symbols.
The exhibition is part of the Arctic Handmade collaboration among three universities – Iceland University of the Arts (IS), University of Lapland, (FI) and Sami Allaskuvla/Sami University of Applied Sciences (NO) – as well as the Arctic Art Forum (RU). The first exhibition under the project was called Interwoven and shown in Rovaniemi and Reykjavik. The project has been beneficial to all as it has shed light on cultural awareness and provided the participants with international experience through rich dialogue. The curators and the producers of the Fringe are Ekaterina Sharova, Maria Huhmarniemi and Ásthildur Jónsdóttir. The exhibition is funded by the Nordic Culture Fund, the University of Lapland and Sami Allaskuvla/Sami University of Applied Sciences.
The themes of the exhibition will be discussed in the panel discussion titled Mother Power. Ekaterina Sharova, the chair of the sessions, describes the theme:
- According to the phenomenological approach, human bodies are interwoven, they create and are created by each other in a pre-reflective manner. The key feature of the embodied knowledge is that the body is the knowing subject. How can the body know? How can the artists see these pre-reflective dimensions of meaning in their work? How can artists make a centuries-old story short? How can mothers’ knowledge empower artists in the Arctic?
The exhibition will be shown 4.6.2019-11.8.2019 in the Gallery Valo in Arktikum House, Rovaniemi, Finland. It will be opened as part of the Arctic Arts Summit 2019.
The panel discussion takes place on Wednesday 5th of June, 10:10-11:10am, in the Faculty of Art and Design, Esko & Asko Hall
Alison Aune, Sky, 2016, acrylic and paper on canvas