I spent the past ten days in the Northern Sweden, 20km from Tarnaby town on the border with Norway (you can see it over the mountains on a clear day), where I attended Survival Kit artist residence. I arrived with a very clear idea and a detailed plan for a project I wanted to work on, but found the place to impose its own themes and rules. Tiny village lost in high mountains overgrown with a heavy stubble of autumn forest – it was a place to think and reflect, taking in more than giving away.
After three days of research and production work, I woke up with high fever, so had to let go of the original plan and reverse my strategy. Amazingly, from then on the work went effortlessly (and my healthy got back to its usual state in less than a day!).
Northern Sweden used to be the land of Sami people, with many descendants of the native population still living in the area. The traditional lifestyle and many rituals have largely been lost, but the unique culture and system of beliefs are lived, breathed and passed on to the new generations by many people who identify themselves as Sami. I was deeply impressed with their life philosophy and relations with nature that appear mutual.
An old Sami saying goes as follows:
The only things a man should leave in a nature are traces from his skis on the snow.
I created an installation that focuses on three generations of a Sami family and reflects their unique relationship with the land of their ancestors:
The three portraits represent the three generation of a Sami family and the nature that surrounds them: fields, forests and lakes:
I found their way of co-existing with nature in a perfect harmony incredibly inspiring – something worth learning – so I spent the last day of the residency wondering through the mountain forests, studying, collecting, getting to know its elements. This is where the second part of the installation – cascade of natural ‘postcards’ slowly fading away – come from:
The work has been presented during a small Show-and-Tell event in Tarnaby and is currently on display in Verkligheten gallery in Umea, Sweden.