Art, Colonialism, Indigeneity. A Time for Truth and Reconciliation?
Sámiráđđi / The Saami Council, OCA and KORO partnered to develop a project reflecting upon the shortfalls and opportunities to be found in the model of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a tool (both current and future) to counter the experience of colonialism by the Indigenous people of the Fennoscandian region, the Sámi. How does a Truth and Reconciliation process drive the much needed process of healing colonial wounds, inflicted onto the indivisible bond between Sámi bodies, lands and spiritual beliefs, and in so doing, asks how it can bring closer together Sámi and Norwegian citizens whose perspectives today may at times appear irreconcilable.
This is a two-part project consisting of an Open Call to commission an artwork in the public space of the city of Oslo and Dialogues series to be disseminated through the Nordic region and internationally. The project situates itself independently of – but in relation to – the formal process of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission initiated in Norway in 2018, and due to conclude in June 2023, but also reflects upon the successes and failures of a similar process conducted on Turtle Island in Canada in 2015.
Art, Colonialism, Indigeneity. A Time for Truth and Reconciliation? casts a bold gaze over the impact of historical and current colonial processes endured by the Sámi people, normalised in broad terms by Norwegian society, and questions how a Truth and Reconciliation commission can endeavour to address them. It asks how the visual arts can bring the following two key questions to the attention of society: To what extent does today's Norwegian society recognise the inter-connected experiences of epistemicide and ecocide that have been and continue to be a direct consequence of state-enforced colonial policies and infrastructures? Secondly, to what extent do Norwegian citizens consider it their civic duty, together with their fellow Sámi citizens, to play a collective role in realising the ambitions contingent with such life-affirming terms as ‘truth’ and ‘reconciliation’?
Art, Colonialism, Indigeneity. A Time for Truth and Reconciliation? launched with an Open Call to Sámi artists who would like to develop a permanent or time-based art project in the public space of the city of Oslo, with critical and aesthetic thinking revolving around these issues. The format or process that such a project might take is open.
It is important to consider the historical and political context of Oslo as the host of this Open Call: a city which witnessed the ground-breaking Sámi hunger-strikers and sit-ins of the Alta Action of 1978–1981 and which responded with overwhelming solidarity, yet a city in which there is barely a trace of such a momentous historic event; a city whose identity today is indelibly marked by a significant Sámi population and yet has no public symbol to honour their contributions to society; and a city in which national policy is debated and legislated with long-lasting implications upon how Sápmi and Norway together will face the opportunities and challenges to come.
The Open Call is open to all Sámi artists, throughout Sápmi. It will especially favour projects which centre on Sámi methodologies and Sámi ways of being, doing, knowing and seeing when presenting Sámi perspectives, and reconsidering the figure of the monument and art in the public space today.
The application must contain:
- a short text that justifies your interest in this assignment
- a portfolio with pictures or sketches of relevant artistic practices
- a CV
- The application deadline is 15 September 2021 at 1 pm (GMT + 1).
- The Open Call is not remunerated
- The application must be submitted by e-mail to: email@example.com
- On 30 November 2021, the jury will announce the five finalists who will be invited to compete for a Sámi monument/artwork in a public space in Oslo.
- The competition material consists of a sketch of the work(s) to be built, either temporarily or permanently. The jury does not lay down guidelines for the duration of the artwork.
- Competition entries are remunerated with NOK 35,000.
- The winner of the competition will be announced in April 2022.
- The artist invited to carry out the assignment will be provided with a total budget, from which the artist will decide the artist’s fee and the production fee on the basis of the proposal.
- The work must be completed by the end of 2023.
Questions about the application process or assignment must be directed to:
Trude Schjelderup Iversen, Curator and project manager KORO;
Katya García-Antón, Director and Chief Curator of OCA;
Christina Hætta, Head of Cultural Unit of the Saami Council Cultural Unit.
The Dialogue Series aims to bring knowledge and critical awareness, to open a space for cultural figures in Sápmi and Norway in which to lend their voices to this important social discussion and process, as well as stressing the role art can play to build commitment to resolving an ongoing rift between citizens of Sápmi and of the Nordic region.