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The Henie Onstad will put on a big retrospective exhibition about the Sami artist Nils-Aslak Valkeapää / Áillohaš (1943-2001).

The artist is seen as a cultural icon and nation builder in Sápmi.1 He was an innovator of Sami joik and visual art, as well as a Nordic pioneer in poetry, artist books and sound art. His work is of great relevance today, both within the field of art and as an advocate for the rights of Indigenous peoples. This fall the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter will highlight his importance in the Nordic countries as well as in a larger global perspective.

The exhibition is the most extensive presentation of Áillohaš’ works—until now. Here one can experience the interdisciplinary practice and activism found in Áillohaš’ art. As he himself expressed it: “In our cultural tradition, everyone is an artist… The way of life is art.”

It is rare to experience, to such an extent, the legacy of Áillohaš in one exhibition. His radical strategy was to not have a gallerist. Thus this exhibition consists of a long line of private, as well as public deposits from Sápmi. After the exhibition at the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter the presentation will travel to Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum in Romsa/Tromsø in the north of Norway.

About the Artist

The Sami artist Nils-Aslak Valkeapää / Áillohaš was born in 1943. Throughout Áillohaš’ works one can always find a deep respect for nature, ecology, animals and humans. Áillohaš was born into a family of reindeer husbandry, with herds that migrated to Finland for their winter grazing and stayed on the Norwegian side of Sápmi in the summer. As Áillohaš did not have it in him to kill animals, he studied to become a teacher in order to connect with literature, visual art and music.

After graduating in 1966 Áillohaš dedicated himself to forefront Sámi traditions and rights. He was central in the establishing of publishers, unions and festivals with the aim to strengthen Sami culture as he fought for the rights of indigenous people on a global scale. In addition he left behind a remarkable artistic legacy of his interdisciplinary art work.

Áillohaš was an innovator within the Sámi tradition of music, literature and visual art, and a Nordic pioneer in the fields of artists books, sound art and poetry. Nils-Aslak Valkeapää / Áillohaš died in 2001 and his work is of great relevance today.

Curated by: Lars Mørch Finborud, Geir Tore Holm (HOK) and Lise Dahl, Jérémie Michael McGowan (NNKM).

Image: Nils-Aslak Valkeapää / Áillohaš, Nama haga / Untitled, 1995. Lásságámmi vuođđudus / The Lásságámmi Foundation.

Henie Onstad Kunstsenter

Sonja Henies vei 31

1311 Høvikodden, Norway


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