Lásságámmi 2020

Lásságámmi means "svabergsgammen" directly translated from Sámi to Norwegian, and is the multi-artist Nils-Aslak Valkeapää's own name for the house he had listed on the plot he received as a 50th anniversary gift from Storfjord municipality. Today, this is also the name of the foundation that manages the researcher's home, which serves as a residence for researchers, artists and others who have been granted residence here. 
Our purpose for the stay in Lásságammi was to further develop our collaborative practice. During this time there were several other projects we worked on together and which became important points of reference; “The Sámi Half Hour” and “Čázevulošnieida - The Underwater Girl”. One of our goals was to investigate poetic interaction between textile and movement, where 'participants' from nature, landscape and people are partners. Where poetry, textiles and design tell a unique and personal story through the relationship to movement.

Let me tell you a little about the landscape. A landscape I, Ramona is very familiar with. It was very exciting for me that Katarina came to Storfjord in the winter of 2020, my neighbouring municipality that shares a border with Finland. We had been on the other side of the border a year earlier, in Kilpisjärvi, Finland. Now we found ourselves on the other side of the border during the pandemic, in a different landscape.I had been looking forward to showing the landscape to Katarina, and also dancer and artist Zofia Jakubiec, who arrived in Lásságammi with Katarina. Zofia stayed there for the first two weeks and got to see the northern lights for the first time of her life.
Lásságammi is located by the sea, its interesting architecture creates a lookout point towards both mountains, sea and forest, with a wild birdlife. Outside on the porch you can walk around to watch from several sides, it is a sauna downstairs. Storfjord is protected by mountains that stretch towards the sky. Across the fjord, towards Lyngen, you can enjoy the view of the majestic Lyngen alps. This mountain range I have looked at all my childhood and wondered what is on the other side. During our stay we explored the relationship between costume design and choreography, heritage, and landscape. During the time Zofia was there, we photographed a lot, and worked process-oriented with "The Sámi Half Hour".
The first day I set up a frame loom on the worktable, and when the weather was bad and the waves crashed against our safe haven, I weaved until the very late hours of the night. During this time, we made small films exploring the relationship between traditional crafts, movement, and storytelling. We also threw ourselves into printing. In a very primitive way, most graphic designers would cringe if they witnessed our random technique. We were still happy, and it would take a year before we got to experience how lino printing could be experienced with the right equipment.

During our time by the sea, forest and fjord we visited the surroundings area, held a workshop in the culture school, went shopping in Nordreisa (The National Park Village) and also made a visit to Lien, the local organic herb farm in Nordnes. We spent time outside, listening to the birdlife, watching the tiny whales play in the fjord.

We were also visited by local photographer Jens-Kristian Nilsen, who took pictures of us in the house and some exploration of the landscape outside.

When we were in Skibotn the world was in the middle of a pandemic. We had been in survival mode since March and did not know when and if the situation would come to an end. We waited, lying in hiding, working towards something we did not know would happen.

When I think back on our stay, it was a gloomy doomsday mood that put a lid on the world, but it also allowed us to excite as best we could where we were, letting in light and playfulness, while the weather stormed around the residence. Some days it was stormy so we could not go outside, but inside we worked as creatively as we could. Just like any other place that was struck my restrictions and curfew, only that our curfew was mostly because of weather.

Through our stay, we had the opportunity to explore several ways of working in performative storytelling - through explorations that work with photography and text, textiles, print, writing and movement.

︎︎︎Home - Stiftelsen Lásságámmi
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Foto: Jens Kristian Nilsen