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Máhcaheapmi (Responses)

Máhcaheapmi (Responses) is a new, two-year public programme by Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) in partnership with Sámiráđđi / The Saami Council, reflecting on the role of art and culture in processes of truth and reconciliation for indigenous communities. It takes the form of four indigenous-led gatherings with participants from Sápmi and other geographies worldwide to be unfolded 2024-25, followed by a symposium and publication in autumn 2025. The first gathering will take place in Mexico in April 2024, on the lands of the P'urehpecha nation.

In 2023 Norway’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) published its long-awaited report into the country’s historical treatment of Sámi, Kven and Forest Finn communities, which highlighted amongst other things the systematic suppression and erasure of their cultural traditions by the Norwegian state, a policy known officially as “Norwegianisation”.

Through a series of Indigenous-led public gatherings, Máhcaheapmi (Responses) aims to disseminate knowledge and critical awareness within the art field in relation to the TRC’s report. Each Máhcaheapmi (Responses) gathering will bring together a variety of practitioners from Sápmi to explore possibilities for self-determination and resistance through art, as well as bridging an ongoing knowledge gap between citizens of the Nordic countries and Sápmi.

Máhcaheapmi (Responses) as a whole aims to contribute to current discussions on the decentering of national and Europatriarchal identity models within contemporary art and the kinds of institutional transformation this might require.

Máhcaheapmi (Responses) is part of a larger collaboration, Art, Colonialism, lndigeneity: A Time for Truth and Reconciliation?, developed and organized by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA), Sámiráđđi / Saami Council and KORO – Public Art Norway. It runs parallel to KORO's initiative Proposals which will develop new propositions for art projects in public space by five Sámi artists or artist groups.

The project will culminate with both a publication and a symposium organized by OCA, Sámiráđđi and KORO. These outcomes will bring together knowledge from across the gatherings together with a presentation of the five new proposals for art projects in public space.