A view from the Multi-Media Artistic Landscape of Northern Norway


ᐃᓗᓕᖏᑦ ᐱᔭᐅᔪᓐᓇᖅᑐᖅ ᖃᓪᓗᓇᑎᑐᑦ ᑭᓯᐊᓂ

A worn red building in Vardø, a town in the northeast of Norway, is painted in white with the phrase: “IT’S NOT DOWN ON ANY MAP. TRUE PLACES NEVER ARE.”

This spotlight showcases the art and culture of northern Norway through a dynamic presentation including visual arts, craft, film, dance, music, and provocative talks and discussions by artistic and cultural leaders. Highlighting collaboration within and among artists from various disciplines and backgrounds in the north of Norway, this spotlight focuses on urgent issues within the region: gender, identity, political organizing, Indigenous sovereignty, Arctic self-determination, the power of cultural mythology about the North, climate change, ecological crisis, connections to land and materials, tradition, technology and adaptation.

A worn red building in Vardø, a town in the northeast of Norway, is painted in white with the phrase: “IT’S NOT DOWN ON ANY MAP. TRUE PLACES NEVER ARE.”

The inaugural Arctic Arts Summit was hosted in Harstad, Norway in 2017, and the country’s arts and culture sector has long been active in these conversations—uplifting the work of artists and thinkers who offer rich perspectives on the Arctic, fostering space for circumpolar collaboration, and building cooperative networks for the development of circumpolar cultural policy.

This spotlight programme of films, performances, artist portfolios, articles, and interviews represents only a portion of the expansive and diverse arts and culture landscape of northern Norway. Return to this platform throughout the lead-up to the 2022 Arctic Arts Summit for additional profiles, exclusive video content, and opportunities to learn more about the artists, organizations, and initiatives showcased here, including an upcoming spotlight on the Sámi Council.

An open hand at bottom left holds a small piece of lichen. Behind the hand is a rock covered in similar lichen.

Åsne Kummeneje Mellem: In Search of Käsityö
A young artist whose practice focuses on Kven crafts, known as käsityö, explores what Kven craft is, has been, and could become, within the context of contemporary art.

A Short Introduction to Pan-Arcticism
Amund Sjølie Sveen argues for solidarity and shared political organizing across the Arctic in this video lecture. 

Fra fjære til fjells / Fiervvás duoddarii / From the shoreline to the mountains
A four-day workshop shares intergenerational knowledge on foraging and natural dyeing.

In an Arctic landscape, a figure in a suit waves a large red flag with a white reindeer icon in its centre, representing the Pan-Arctic movement.

Inghild Karlsen: Outdoor/Indoor
Learn more about one of the first Norwegian artists to be associated with installation as a medium and format. 

Kan du komme ned og hente meg igjen?
A dance performance by Kartellet, filmed in one take, investigates male tenderness, playfulness, physicality and violence.

Techniques of Balance IV
Kartellet master Nils-Ole Foshaug delivers witty observations and instructions on balancing techniques derived from Norwegian folk dancing in this excerpt from a 1991 manual.

In a snowy wooded landscape, two male dancers dressed in black are seated at a piano in the deep snow, while other three figures stand beside and behind the piano.
Kan du homme ned og hente meg igjen?, process image (2021). COURTESY KARTELLET.

Øyvind Novak Jenssen: Sculptures from the Test Kitchen
For this Norwegian artist, cooking is a powerful metaphor for artistic experimentation and relationships to land.

Post-Capitalist Architecture TV, Part 1
Post-Capitalist Architecture TV is a digital TV series featuring renowned Tromsø artists Joar Nango and director Ken Are Bongo introducing their home and local environment in Sápmi. 

The Tipping Point
Jazz musicians collaborate with photographer Knut Åserud to visualize relationships between humans and the environment in his debut moving-image work.

A long, dark corridor is illuminated by several suspended incandescent light bulbs.
Memorial Hall (2011), designed by Swiss Architect Peter Zumthor (video still).

Hope Springs Eternal
A view inside a 2021 installation at the North Norwegian Arts Centre that grapples with the patterns of an unpredictable world.

Spotlight on Vardø
An initiative by the North Norwegian Art Centre will present a series of commissions and artist projects in Vardø, Norway’s easternmost town.

Arctic Indigenous Design Archives (AIDA)
A cross-border collaboration preserves Sámi living culture through craft.

In a northern Norwegian landscape with water and mountains behind her, artist Hilde Hauaun Johnsen lifts a yellow textile out of a steaming dye pot in a fire pit.
Hilde Hauan Johnsen demonstrates her plant dyeing process. PHOTO: INGUN MÆHLUM.

On Fibre Optic Weaving and the Archiving of Landscape
Hilde Hauan Johnsen on plants, land, and process

Hilde Skancke Pederson
A studio visit with the Sámi sculptor, scenographer, and textile artist.

Ingeborg Annie Lindahl
The humble material of chalk channels questions of geology, time, and transience.

Post-Capitalist Architecture TV, Part 3
Post-Capitalist Architecture TV is a digital TV series featuring renowned Tromsø artists Joar Nango and director Ken Are Bongo introducing their home and local environment in Sápmi.

Each week, the Arctic Arts Summit Digital Platform spotlights an important region of the circumpolar North or organization working to support Arctic artists and their practices. Spotlights are an exciting introduction to the variety of perspectives across the circumpolar world and we invite you to learn more across the platform.