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Monumental public art for Kautokeino - Dáiddadállu turns 10 years!

News 18.08.23

Máret Ánne Sara creates a monumental work of art on the wall of the municipal building in Kautokeino and with it Dáiddadállu pre-launches our grand jubilee where next year we will turn 10 years old. We have chosen to celebrate Dáiddadállu's 10-year anniversary by catalyzing and producing lots of new art, straight from Sápmi! In good Dáiddadállu spirit, the new public utility in Kautokeino is well rooted in the local community and worked forward in collaboration with many fields, perspectives and partners, such as Kautokeino municipality, KORO, Kautokeino destination development project, Ovddos and Directorate of Culture.

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The artwork "Rávnnjit" (stream) - of reindeer antlers and insulators shaped like the dammed Altavassdraget - is the first of the works that the artist collective Dáiddadállu is creating for its 10th anniversary.
Photo: Karl Alfred Larsen

Rich work with many layers

Maret Anne Sara has worked on the idea for a long time and is happy that it is finally finding its place right here at home in Kautokeino.

- The work takes its visual form from the alta-kautokeino watercourse, with a map section directly opposite the dam in Čávžu. There is something poetic and meditative in the river stream(s) that continuously flow - and the reindeer herds that nomadically move across the landscapes of Sápmi. Both currents are strong primal forces in continuous operation. Thus also a reminder of life and historical presence in landscapes which from centralized circles are considered empty and unused. From a natural perspective, these flows are elementary and infinite resources, but from a national political perspective, it looks very different.

In the work I do not use naturally felled horn, but only čorvošat or áksánat as we call it; pair of horns still attached to the forehead bone. I often work with a closeness to the individual/material and life/death. The same goes for handling whole antlers. It makes it clear that each antler is in reality an individual that has died either through traditional slaughter or natural death and not industrialized slaughter where horns are sawn off larger animals to make room for the animals in slaughter trailers. Čorvošat (the antlers) vary in size, shape and color shades. On some autumn antlers there will be námmi (skin with short fur around the horn), while others will have bare horn. The reindeer shed their antlers once a year. This means that the horns fall off as single horns.

It then regenerates its horns. The female reindeer retains antlers for the winter to be able to fight for pasture while pregnant and to protect the calf that is born in the spring. For the male reindeer, the horns are most important in autumn when it is in heat. After the heat, it sheds its horns, usually in December. Each reindeer makes its horns in a specific shape and repeats this every time it makes new horns. Some make their horns straight while others make them full or curvy. Shapes vary endlessly: leaning back, leaning forward, pointed, outward, inward, thick or thin. Detailed descriptions and recognition of horns are a particularly intricate part of traditional Sami knowledge of reindeer husbandry. The technical language therefore has a large vocabulary that describes horn types in every imaginable detail. In this way, the work will have many values and meanings for different audiences. For reindeer herders who specialize in antler recognition and who live so close to their animals, the work will have close, emotional and professional value. For an audience without this knowledge and connection, the work will be a gateway to new knowledge on both a traditional, cultural and political level, Sara says of her herd, which is now streaming down the municipal wall in the reindeer husbandry kingdom's headquarters.

Long-awaited historical monument and political reminder

The river, on the other hand, is not only decorated with horns, but also current insulators.

- The Alta-Kautokeino watercourse and the fight for the river will forever stand as a heavy symbol of Sami history and the fight for rights in this country. The so-called "Alta case" is our local history. We who grew up here have history in our blood and I personally have tried to fight against both mining, power lines and the forced slaughter of our reindeer. Now that we have the grotesque Fosen case in the lap of the Sami community and considering that the government approves the electrification of Melkøya, it is building up to a new fight against large-scale power production at the expense of our presence. I'm happy to lend my art to give our municipality visibility and a cosmetic boost, but don't do it blindly.

By capturing attention through art, you offer room for reflection which, over time, can create a greater understanding of our society, our needs and challenges. I hope that everyone who visits us will gain access to knowledge and understanding about the battles we have to fight to keep our areas, industries, culture and traditional life. It has never come for free and we have to understand history if we are to solve today's challenges. From now on, I hope that everyone who visits us, especially politicians and ministers, will be reminded of where they are and how their actions affect life here, says Sara.

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Collaborating broadly: Maret Anne Sara Dine Fenger Lynge, Elle Bals, Nils Runar Hætta and Karin Hætta and Kautokeino mayor Hans Isak Olsen. Photo: Svein Solheim

Art's synergies strengthen the municipality, society and industry

Kautokeino is Norway's largest municipality for artists and cultural workers, without this having been visible in the public facade of the village and we in Dáiddadállu would like to do something about that. This project shows again how Dáiddadállu's presence and targeted work create opportunities for artists and at the same time strengthen our own society. Dáiddadállu will promote art for everyone, as an enrichment and well-being factor for the large community of artists we have here and as a factor of housing for the local population. At the same time, we are very aware of and happy that what we are doing will also strengthen the municipality as a destination and thus provide positive synergies for the rest of business, says general manager Dinge Fenger Lynge.

- The Guovdageaidnu travel destination has in its strategy laid down that it wants to work to appear as the leading Sami travel destination and that Guovdageaidnu will hold the position of Culture Bearer in Sápmi, a place for strong encounters with people, nature and culture. Cultural institutions and especially Dáiddadállu as a hub and powerhouse for Sami artists throughout (Norway) Sápmi, have a particularly important role in promoting Guovdageaidnu as an exciting destination to visit. Their work is a good example of how they create experience points that are available all year round, both for us who live here and our visitors. For me, it is gratifying that Dáiddadállu has invited us and others to this collaboration. the art created by well-known Sami artists will attract new and desired guest groups to Guovdageaidnu and thereby fill the destination's annual wheel with more content - a contribution to year-round tourism, says the project manager at the Kautokeino Destination Development Project, Antje Schlecht Valio

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Sara's new work is currently under the title "Rávnnjit" (stream) and is shaped like a map section of the dammed Alta-Kautokeino river. Photo: Karl Alfred Larsen

Great artists and great values

The municipality gains great value from Dáiddadállu's work. Processes with art in public spaces are expensive and time-consuming, as there are many involved and many elements that come into play and must be taken into account. Apart from the artists who have to adapt their visions to public space, there are long processes with consultations, applications, security assessments, bureaucracy and logistics. The costs of art in public spaces thus often have price tags in the millions.

- Dáiddadállu has since its inception been an attractive arena that attracts a lot of guests both nationally and internationally. That we can finally show our artists' work in public spaces locally will reflect what we present to the world about active professional artists and a bustling artist community. I don't think that we are aware of how great artists we actually house in our small village, and what it means that they decorate their home with their works of art. Our artists tour the world and several of them have been acquired by important institutions such as the National Museum. It is not without reason that, for example, Máret Ánne Sara's art has been chosen as the first work you see at the new National Museum. Her art is thus a main attraction for attracting art audiences from all over the world and thus has a major role in how Norway sells itself as an art nation, says Dáiddadállu's general manager Dine Fenger Lynge.

-From the municipality's side, we are proud that we now have public art that will be present both for our population and for guests who come to Kautokeino. The type of art that Máret Ánne is now setting up here will reach the public in a completely different way than a normal art exhibition. We believe that this art can contribute to experiences, reflections and discussions that would not have been possible anywhere else. When we know how far Máret Ánne Sara has reached with her art, we are honored that she wants to create art on our walls. We wish Dáiddadállu the best of luck with the anniversary celebrations next year and look forward to the rest of the art that the talented artists at Dáiddadállu will set up in our municipality, concludes mayor Hans Isak Olsen.

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Anniversary year 2024

Dáiddadállu's big anniversary project for 2024 is multi-part, where one part is art in public space. Apart from Sara, two other artists also work with public works for Kautokeino municipality. Otherwise, Dáiddadállu's artists have worked from different sides in recent years to explore interdisciplinary and diverse art productions for both exhibitions and the performing arts space. Beyond the spring of 2024, Dáiddadállu will offer new performing arts, an art exhibition and, as mentioned, several public works of art. The main premiere of the anniversary productions will be during the Easter Festival in Kautokeino in the spring of 2024 before the works travel on to the Sami Center for Contemporary Art, the Riddu Riđđu Festival and the Nuuk Nordic Culture Festival, say Dine Fenger Lynge and Inga Márjá Utsi from Dáiddadállu's administration.