The Sami Centre for Contemporary Art is perhaps the best place to find out what’s going on in Sami art today. Go there as often as you can, because there’s always something new to learn.
The village of Karasjok is home to one of the most exciting galleries in Northern Norway, the Sami Centre for Contemporary Art, formerly the Sami Artist Centre. Supported by the Sami Parliament and the county of Finnmark, it houses exhibitions in former industrial premises on the outskirts of Karasjok.
The Centre is about connecting traditional, modern and ‘world view’ contemporary art
Its aim is to be a venue for exhibitions of Sami contemporary art, which ranges from avant-garde expressions to “duodji”, traditional Sami handicrafts. It also aims to promote dialogue between Sami art and other contemporary art from around the world.
Practical information about visiting Karasjok
Karasjok is located in central eastern Northern Norway close to the Finnish border. There is no airport in Karasjok, therefore it is recommended to fly to Lakselv to the north and take a bus or rent a car to make the journey. Karasjok is far from the ocean, therefore no boat routes will take you there.
Karasjokk is well inland, and therefore experiences a continental climate pattern. During the winter months it’s not uncommon for Karasjok to be the coldest place in all Norway with temperatures in January example averaging at -17, but having dropped below -45 degrees Celsius on occasion. In the Summer however, the temperature can rise into the high 20s and low 30s. Therefore it is up to you as to which extreme you wish to endure.
The Sami Centre for Contemporary Art’s website contains information about current and future exhibitions.
Exhibitions are continually changing
In the exhibition entitled “I’m in lavvu”, eight artists were invited to design their own lavvu, or Sami tent. The results ranged right from lavvus made from wood or modern materials through to video installations. Sven Flygare Johansen’s exhibition in Karasjok ran at the same time as an equivalent exhibition in the Beaconsfield Gallery in London. Trains running past that gallery sent impulses to Karasjok, and moved a glass across a tilted table. However, the next time you visit Karasjok, it will be something different, as the exhibitions are changed every month.
It is more than just a centre, it’s part of the wider Finnmark community
The headquarters are in Karasjok, and the gallery gets a new exhibition 10 times a year, providing people in Inner Finnmark with a huge variety of art. The centre is also involved in partnership projects with museums and galleries in Nordkalotten, and has participated in festivals such as the Barents Spektakel in Kirkenes.