– Autumn/Winter 2017

A Hand-drawn Map as a Decolonising Document

Maria Therese Stephansen

Hans Ragnar Mathisen, Rátkin IV, 1986, woodblock print, 80.2 × 96.2cm. Photograph: Børre Høstland. Courtesy the Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, Oslo and the artist

Once again, perusing through a regional journal, I find a commentary questioning the Sami people’s right to call themselves indigenous. I feel like I have already read this a hundred times before. I start thinking about my grandfather. How he must have felt hiding his Sami roots. How it must have felt not being able to teach his daughter the language he had spoken as a child. The gas flame is burning bright at the gas plant on Melkøya, outside of Hammerfest, and the city is preparing for the big oil/gas industry conference Barentshavskonferansen. On my television I can follow the reindeer herd

  1. Quinn Latimer and Adam Szymczyk, ‘Editors’ letter’, documenta 14 website, available at http:// www.documenta14.de/en/south/886_editors_letter (last accessed on 30 April 2017).

  2. Astrid Dankertsen, ‘Fragments of the Future: Decolonization in Sami Everyday Life’, Kult [online journal], no.14, 26 November 2016, available at http://postkolonial.dk/files/KULT%2014/3%20 Astri%20Dankertsen%20final.pdf (last accessed on 30 April 2017), p.26.

  3. Ibid., p.27.

  4. Ibid.

  5. Vigdis Stordahl, ‘Samene: Fra “lavtstaaende race” til “urbefolkning”’, in Thomas Hylland Eriksen (ed.), Flerkulturell Forståelse, Oslo: Tano Aschehoug, 1997, p.162.

  6. Harald Eidheim, ‘Ein nasjon veks frem: Sápmi’, Ottar, vol.4, no.232, 2000, p.7.

  7. Synnøve Persen, ‘Tendenser i samisk kunst og kultur’, Ottar, vol.4, no.232, 2000, pp.64–65.

  8. A. Dankertsen, ‘Fragments of the Future’, op. cit., p.29.

  9. Vigdis Stordahl, Et samisk alternativ’, Ottar, vol.4, no.232, 2000, p.14.

  10. Ibid.

  11. See Hanna Horsberg Hansen, The Sami Artist Group – A Political and Artistic Project’, Mazejoavku – Sami Artist Group 1978–1983 (exh. cat.), Karasjok: Sami Dáiddacehpiid Searvi, 2014, pp.24–25; and ‘Sami artist group 1978–1983 – A Story About Sami Traditions in Transition’, in Charis Gulliksen and Sandra Lorentzen (ed.), Sami Stories (exh. cat.), Tromsø: Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum and Orkana Akademisk, 2014, pp.89–105.

  12. Jan Erik Lundstrøm, ‘What Is Contemporary Sami Art and Design?’, in Julie Cirelli and Esther Whang (ed.), Contemporary Sami Art and Design, Stockhol: Arvinius + Orfeus, 2015, p.10.

  13. See Hans Ragnar Mathisen, ‘ČSV. Čájet Sami Vuoiŋŋa!’, available on the artist’s website at http:// www.keviselie-hansragnarmathisen.net/141466668 (last accessed on 30 April 2017).

  14. H.R. Mathisen, ‘How it all started, my first maps’, available on the artist’s website at http://www. keviselie-hansragnarmathisen.net/141466671 (last accessed on 30 April 2017).

  15. Audhild Schanche, ‘Det symbolske landskapet – landskap og identitet i samisk kultur’, Ottar, vol.4, no.207, 1995, pp.38–47.

  16. Liisa-Rávná Finbog, ‘Gákti ja goahti’, Nordisk Museologi, no.2, 2015, pp.95–107.

  17. The Carta marina is considered to be the earliest known map of the Nordic countries, and it provides place names. It was drawn by the Swedish ecclesiastic Olaus Magnus and published in 1539.

  18. Tim Ingold, ‘The temporality of the landscape’, World Archaeology, vol.25, no.2, London: Routledge, October 1993, p.152.

  19. This is a summary of Outi Pieski’s text for her exhibition ‘Ássojuvvon báiki’ (2014) and conversations with Pieski in June 2016 related to the Art Li Biennale 2016 exhibition ‘Poetics of the Material’, curated by Marja Helander and Maria Stephansen. See Poetics of the Material (exh. cat.), Ii: KulttuuriKauppila, 2016.

  20. Arild Gjertsen and Tone Magnussen, ‘Gruver, landskap og verdier’, Ottar, vol.4, no.307, 2015, p.22.

  21. Jeremy W. Crampton, ‘Cartography: Performative, Participatory, Political’, Progress in Human
    [online journal], available at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/
    0309132508105000 (last accessed on 13 June 2017).

  22. This was stated by the Norwegian ethnographer Yngvar Nielsen in his Fremrykkingsteorien (Theory of Advancement), published in 1891, in which he proposes that the Sami were immigrants to the area, an assumption based on the lack of (written) sources. See Christina Allard and Susann Funderud Skogvang (ed.), Indigenous Rights in Scandinavia: Autonomous Sami Law, New York: Routledge, 2015.

  23. Subjective Atlas of Palestine is a project by Dutch designer Annelys de Vet, who invited Palestinian artists, photographers and designers to map their country as they see it. The project began as a
    workshop in April 2007 at the International Academy of Art Palestine in Ramallah. The contri-
    butions aim to give a different angle on a nation in an occupied territory.

  24. J. W. Crampton, ‘Cartography: Performative, Participatory, Political’, op. cit., p.1.

  25. Ibid.

  26. See the description of the exhibition ‘Anders Sunna / Colonialism Inc’ (KulttuuriKauppila, Ii, Finland, 12 June–21 August 2016), available at http://www.kulttuurikauppila.fi/arkisto/anders- sunna-colonialism-inc-126-218-2 (last accessed on 30 April 2017).

  27. Anne Heith, ‘Enacting Colonised Space’, Nordisk Museologi, no.2, 2015, p.80.