Taking A Stand

3.12.2018 11:00

Tanja Joona and Joonas Vola had their first joined art exhibition presented in the Gallery Kopio in the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi 23.10.–29.11.2018, after its premiere in Trondheim. Read the story behind the photographic exhibition "Staging Sámi in the City".

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”Staging Sámi in the City” art exhibition was established as a collaboration between the NPE research team members Tanja Joona and Joonas Vola. The original idea and theme for the exhibition came from Tanja to Joonas to photograph and launch an exhibition to be presendted in the ”Er Sápmis framtid i byene? Samisk urbanisering og samisk urbanitet” in Trondheim 18 -20th of October 2017. This would also provide illustrative material and artistic approach to the research on the urban future of the Sámi. The planning and organising the contents for the photographs was done together as an experiment for both of us being newcomers to the field of communicating science through art. The purpose and aim for the art project was to present photographic illustrations to interpret Sámihood in urban space. The idea from the very beginning was not to do an ethnographic study but to establish a collection of staged situation as an effort to communicate scientific discourses with pictorial narratives, to negotiate the iconic and sometimes stereotypical representations of indigeneity with the changing live dynamics of people’s daily lives in the urbanizing world.


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After a view photographing session we had a collection of photographs from which we decided to choose 12 candidates to be printed on large scale for a material resembling of canvas, finally ending up to vinyl due to the good color quality. Thanks to the NUORGÁV project’s financing we were able to print and present the twelve pieces in Trondheim. Year after the ten pieces from the original exhibition are placed in the Gallery Kopio in the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi on 23.10.–29.11.2018, as part of the art and science collaboration between the Arctic Centre and the Faculty of Art of the University of Lapland. These are: Take A Stand, Step by Step, Commuting, The Office, Reindeer Roundabout, Revitalizing, Roavvenjárga, Home is where the heart is, Gákti and Riverside. The consulting for hanging and light design was executed by Leila Lipiäinen, pringing the pictures truly alive. Irreplacable advices and material support was also received from the collagues in the Arctic Centre, especially among the Science Exhibition unit. The support from the Sustainable Development research group made it possible to celebrate the opening with a number of visitors in the opening evening of the exhibition on 22.10.2018 at 18.00.


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In the NUORGÀV project, Sámi youth was studied in urban cities of the Nordic countries. In Finland, already 80 % of the indigenous Sámi children are born outside their traditional territories. This is a global demographic phenomenon of urbanization and it deeply affects indigenous peoples’ lives. The development is fast and poses different kind of challenges for the entire Sámi society and culture. Youth and women are more likely to settle in urban areas. The project results recognize that indigenousness is no longer tied with traditional livelihoods or land use but instead requires other forms of cultural maintenance. In the contemporary situation Sámi have started through their own associations and networks require more appropriate services in the cities, including Sámi language learning in the schools and kindergartens. However, this is not always satisfactory. The NUORGÀV project has evaluated the existing international and domestic legislation in regard to Sámi language, but also the implementation of these rights in practice. The results of the project are presented through various scientific articles as well as compilation book published by Berghahn in 2019.


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We would like to cordially thank all the visitors taking their time and leaving their kind comments!

Tanja & Joonas



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