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Sami artist competes for honors and NOK 200,000

News 16.03.21

On March 27, the Sandefjord art association opens an exhibition where five artists compete for both honors and NOK 200,000. Máret Ánne Sara is the first Sami artist to be nominated for the art prize and one of the five artists who came all the way to the top in the judging.

The art prize is awarded every other year. However, when the winner is to be chosen for the fifth time, it is the first time that a Sami artist has been nominated for the award. The winner of the prize walks away with NOK 200,000 and a solo exhibition at Sandefjord Art Association the following year.

Among 15 nominated artists, Máret Ánne Sara, Ahmed Umar, Sandra Mujinga, Sverre Gullesen and Wendimagegn Belete are competing for both honors and money this year. The five artists have been nominated and evaluated by a professional jury consisting of Antonio Cataldo, artistic director at Fotogalleriet in Oslo, Hanne Mugaas, director and curator at Kunsthall Stavanger, artist Marianne Heier, Mats Stjernstedt, director at Malmö Konsthall and chairman of Sandefjord Kunstforening Signe Hultgren.

- We have a jury with high competence as well as knowledge and networks linked to both the Norwegian, Nordic and international art scene and with different points of view and roles in the art world, says general manager of Sandefjord Art Association, Kari Berge.

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-About time!

The Sami artist Máret Ánne Sara has soon exhibited at both of the exhibitions that are considered the world's largest and most important. In 2017, she shocked the whole world when she exhibited a carpet of 400 forehead-cut reindeer heads at Documenta 14 in Kassel. In 2022, she is one of three Sami artists representing Sápmi in the Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

- It is actually the first time a Sami artist has been nominated for the award, so I would say it was about time, says Kari Berge about the nomination of Maret Anne Sara for the art award.

- A collective jury perceives Sara's artistry as very relevant and of high quality. She has an important voice and a unique story that has been noticed both nationally and internationally. She consciously uses her Sami background in art and in that way she gives a voice to those we don't hear, says Kari Berge on behalf of the Sandefjord art association.

First showing in Norway

Sara says that the works for the exhibition at Sandefjord art association were already planned during last year.

- Unfortunately, there is not much room for improvisation in the institutional art world, so location-wise placement of both artists and the works had to be in place quite a long time ago. That is why I have chosen to exhibit a work I made in 2018 that I have never shown in Norway before, and which I consider to be both current and acutely important for my society and the times we live in. In addition, I am showing a smaller, completely new work and I'm really looking forward to it.

Already a winner

What do you think about the competition and the chances of winning?

- It is a bit strange to compete with art in this way, but at the same time it is an exciting event that I have not come across before. It is a great opportunity to get to know a new professional network, with new artists and art. It's fun to be involved and I already feel like a winner since such a heavy professional jury has assessed my work and nominated me all the way to the final sprint, says Sara.