Amongst the many people Lou and I met in Lapland and shared discussions with on our journey are Professor Jaana Erkkilä and Kalle Lampela at the University of Lapland and the Director of Korundi Museum, Hilkka Liikkanen. Helvi and Reijo Lantto co-founders of the Arctic Ceramic Centre in POSIO, ceramicists Suku Park and Miki Kim, interior design retailer Anu Pentik, all of whom gave generously their knowledge, time and warmth.
We gave everyone we met a small amount of clay and asked them to make something small for us to collect and document our journey.
Travelling on upwards toward KEMIJÄRVI and SODANKYLÄ we were welcomed by Artists Pirkko Mäkelä-Haapalinna, Kaija Kiuru, and Helena Junttila, who took time out to talk about their practices and share thoughts of materiality, connection and identity
In INARI, Director of Siida (the national Museum of Finnish Sami) Sari Valkonen and Aile Aikio, Exhibition Organiser, explained the history of the Sami culture, its suppression and struggle for resurgence. Sami Artist Anne Aikio described the upswell of feeling within some of the young Sami artist’s work, particularly suohpanterror, an anonymous group of artists using wit, iconic images and humour as weapons of comment.
Onwards up and across the Norwegian border into KARASJOK, we met with Elisabeth Heilmann from the Sami Centre of Contemporary Art (supported by the Sami parliament and the county of Finnmark) currently showing work by Bente Geving and pop up exhibition by suohpanterror....and always adding to our clay conversations.
In KAUTOKEINO, we visited the Sámi University College and designer Hilde Skancke Pedersen, who gave us a whirlwind tour of the building and the art inside.
And on we drove to KILPISJARVI and the University of Helsinki’s Biological station, where we had to say goodbye to our friend and Arts Producer Kaisa Kerätär, hello to Artist Leena Valkeapaa and turn our attention to engaging with our project and our physical environment. Lou and I were staying as part of the ArsBioarctica residency programme organised by the Finnish Society of Bioart.