Anders Sunna is a Northern Sámi artist from a reindeer-herding family in Kieksiäisvaara, who is based in Jåhkamåhkke/Jokkmokk, both in the Swedish part of Sápmi. His politically charged artworks narrate the history of the violence and oppression against the Sámi people, and his family’s longstanding conflict with the county administrative board’s reindeer husbandry delegation.
In addition to larger installations, Sunna’s paintings feature thick layers of colour, collage, graffiti techniques and motifs depicting the oppression of Sámi, including forced relocation and photos from the Swedish State Institute for Racial Biology.
Sunna’s first solo exhibition, GOT DEMOCRAZY, took place in 2013 at the Sámi Dáiddaguovddáš/Sami Centre for Contemporary Art in Karasjok, Norway. His work has exhibited all over the world, including in the National Gallery of Canada’s Àbadakone | Continuous Fire | Feu continuel in 2019 and at the Biennale of Sydney in 2020.
He and Máret Ánne Sara have actually collaborated on a project before, working together on a set of concert visuals for Lappaffair – Unfinished Business at Festspillene i Nord Norge (Arctic Art Festival), at Harstad, Norway, in 2016.
The animated short film he co-directed, Morit Elena Morit! (Wake Up Elena Wake Up!) (2017), won the Jane Glassco Award for Emerging Talent at the 2017 imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival in Toronto, ON, and Best Indigenous Short Film award at the 2018 Skábmagovat Film Festival in Inari, Finland.
Following the Sámi custom of learning from elders of the community, all three of the artists featured in the Sámi Pavilion will benefit from the individual guidance of elders: Feodoroff will be guided by Sámi educator and professor emerita Asta M. Balto; Sara by reindeer herder and Sámi knowledge bearer Káren E. M. Utsi; and Sunna by Sámi professor of law and juoigi (practitioner of joik, the Sámi musical practice) Ánde Somby.
The 59th Venice Biennale takes place Sat, Apr 23, 2022 – Sun, Nov 27, 2022 in Venice, Italy.