Acknowledgement of the Sámi people

OCA acknowledges the Sámi as one people, and as the Indigenous people of the Fennoscandian region. On the land of this region, Sápmi, the Sámi people have lived since time immemorial, respectfully harvesting from nature by fishing, farming, hunting and following reindeer, amongst other activities.

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Emil Hilda Lavre
11 April 2022

aabaakwad to celebrate 'The Sámi Pavilion' at Biennale Arte 2022

aabaakwad, the art world’s foremost Indigenous-led gathering, has announces its fourth event, happening April 22-25, 2022, as part of the extended program of ‘The Sámi Pavilion’ project under the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. Bringing together more than 100 artists, writers and curators from more than 25 First Nations and seven countries, aabaakwad 2022: ‘The Sámi Pavilion’ arrives in Venice to celebrate the Nordic Pavilion’s historic recognition of the art and sovereignty of the Sámi people, with four days of free events. Independently organized, artist centered and Indigenous-led, the gathering is co-presented by the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA).

"With each iteration of aabaakwad we showcase the power, innovation and diversity of Indigenous Arts, we assert our sovereignty and create moments of transformation. The opening of the Sámi Pavilion, in this nation-based setting, is an exciting moment for Indigenous artists globally,"

says Wanda Nanibush, Anishinaabe Curator of Indigenous Art, AGO and event co-founder, and adds:

"aabaakwad 2022 affords us the unique opportunity to welcome pavilion artists past and present, to hear from Indigenous artists whose work has been featured and understand its impact on their work and their practice. As part of our first ever international mentorship program, we will be joined by the next generation of curators."

Happening at the Don Orione Cultural Centre, with additional events at Ocean Space and the Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello di Venezia, aabaakwad 2022: ‘The Sámi Pavilion’ opens on Friday, April 22 with a series of conversations on nationhood and artmaking featuring artists Sonia Boyce and Brett Graham, as well as musical performances by Emil Karlsen, Lávre, Hildá Länsman, Kulleh Comrade and Jeremy Dutcher. The keynote will be delivered by ‘The Sámi Pavilion’ artists Pauliina Feodoroff, Máret Ánne Sara and Anders Sunna in conversation with their knowledge keepers.

A series of live performances from poets and artists Denilson Baniwa, Rebecca Belmore, Timimie Märak and Janet Rogers will happen on April 23 and 24. Scheduled speakers include Brook Andrew, Raven Chacon, Stan Douglas, Jeffrey Gibson, Ursula Johnson, Vernon Ah Kee, Alan Michelson, Darlene Naponse, Rachel Rakena, r e a, Judy Watson and many more.

Previously presented in 2020 at the Sydney Biennale, and in 2021 at the AGO, aabaakwad 2022: The Sámi Pavilion is generously supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, BLAK C.O.R.E, an initiative of Museums & Collections at the University of Melbourne, the Canada Council for the Arts, Ocean Space, Riddu Riđđu Festival, Stardust Arts, Terra Foundation for American Art and TBA21- Academy.

For more information and full programme, visit aabaakwad.com/current-gatherings.

Header image: Sámi musicians Lávre, Hildá Länsman and Emil Karlsen will perform at the opening night of aabaakwad at the Conservatorio de Musica Benedetto Marcello di Venezia on April 22.

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