Katarina Skår Lisa
Land acknowledgement and artistic presentation
First and foremost.
I want to acknowledge that I live on a land of two peoples, the Norwegian peoples, and the Sámi people. The Sámi people are the indigenous peoples of the Fennoscandia Region and are recognized as one people, and one nation, Sápmi. Sápmi reaches across four countries’ borders: Norway, Russia, Sweden, and Finland. With honour, gratitude and my deepest respect for our Sámi indigenous community and worldwide indigenous communities, I wish to acknowledge the past, the present and the coming future.
To the foremothers, forefathers and to the children, to those who carry strength, vulnerability, knowledge, and wisdom of living with the land, the culture, and relations. The people, the stones, the waters, the plants, the animals, the insects, the seen and unseen, the stories, the languages, the worldviews, and the oral traditions.
To those who carry the deepest memories of the Earth.
May we learn to live humbly with Her and you, to live side by side, harmoniously and listening.
I wanted to start my little presentation with a self-written land acknowledgement, inspired by indigenous worldview and other acknowledgements. A land acknowledgement is a “formal statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.”
Land acknowledgements are“an honest and historically accurate way to recognize the traditional First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit territories of a place. They can be presented verbally or visually: think signage, short theatre presentations or simple spoken-word greetings. According to Anishinaabe-kwe Wanda Nanibush, the first curator of Indigenous art at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), land acknowledgements have one goal, regardless of format: They commemorate Indigenous peoples’ principal kinship to the land—and the fact that we have not and cannot be erased from her, our collective first mother. “They’re a starting place to a change in how the land is seen and talked about,” she says. “[They] help redefine how people place themselves in relation to First Peoples.” 1
In Norway, it has not yet been a normal gesture sharing a land acknowledgement in formal or public events, even though it does take place, in some relevant circumstances. Therefore I was very moved when I heard a land recognition, shared by my fellow colleague Nayla Naoufal that normally lives in Montreal (Tiohti:áke in Kanien'kéha?) in Canada and lives closely with the First Nation and artists of Indigenous heritage. According to Wikipedia a land acknowledgement appeared in Canada after 2015 when the Truth and Reconciliation commission rapport appeared and could “argue that the Indian residential school systems had amounted to cultural genocide.” 2
The context my colleague Nayla shared the land acknowledgement was given in a seminar about heritage and landscape under Oslo International Theatre Festival, at Riksscenen 2020. The same evening as the seminar, I presented my work Gift of Stone with Ramona and Johan Sara Jr. and my dearest colleague Otto Ramstad presented his work Lineage. As I heard the acknowledgement, I could feel how Nayla shared a sense of care that could influence our understanding of the past, yet also color our future with support for a renewed relationship with Indigenous Peoples and our people, the Sámi people.
If a land acknowledgement would have taken place more frequently in Norway from now on, how would our gaze on our Indigenous land be?
In 2018 Norway started a Truth and Reconciliation committee which aims to research about the consequences of Norwegianization of the Sámi people as well as for the Kven and skogfinns. The committee might deliver their rapport in September 2022 (2023?) and will also suggest improvement for further reconciliation processes. 3
The consequences of assimilation politics and the relationship we have with the land culturally are themes I am very concerned about as an artist. I don’t aim to manifest at this point, how my artistic work will unfold in the future, but for now I try to work with conveying the relationships between human beings, nature, and culture, through a poetic artistic gaze. My artistic enquiries are trying to be relational towards the land I am visiting. My priority the last few years has been to learn more about the Sea Sámi family heritage that I carry through my father’s roots and to the landscape in Varanger. This is a complex and meaningful (yet quite new) artistic and personal journey that weaves my previous artistic enquiries with site- responsive works in nature into a more personal, yet maybe also universal one. In my master project in choreography Gift of Stone in 2019, I explored what good relations means to and with landscapes and intangible cultural heritages, seen from a Cree- native Indian as well as Sámi indigenous worldview. My aim with such an entrance to artistic works is to broaden my own perspectives and knowledge about the Sea Sámi and Sámi culture by investigating what a Sea Sámi artistic language could mean and be for me today. Together with fellow artist travellers and collaborators both with humans and more than human beings- sensible relations have and might by time appear in between the seen and the unseen, the micro and macro cosmos.
I have for many years focused my work on interdisciplinary collaborations and find this meeting point between people, artistic expressions, and perspectives to be so important and enriching for a collective, conscious growth. My experience is that in sharing knowledge with each other one will find that each one carries capacities and stories that can be meaningful for both the person carrying them but also for those around, if exchanged and shared with care, listening qualities and deep understanding.
I thank Ramona for her dedication to her independent practises and artistic works that are influential and reciprocal, and that we together could have had chances to develop a collaboration together over the last 3 years. This webinar gives just a few glimpses into some of the stories that have unfolded by our journeys into several arctic and other landscapes by time.
www.katarinalisa.com (web page is currently under development)
Ramona Salo Myrseth
My name is Ramona. I was born and raised in a municipality between the fjord and mountains in Northern Norway. I lived, worked, and studied in Oslo for ten years, before I moved my practice back to my roots - and now live in the north again, but with the world as my workplace. I have a bachelor's degree in criminology from the Faculty of Law in Oslo, a bachelor's degree in fashion and design from Oslo University College, a year study in art history and cultural studies from the University of Oslo and a master's degree in design from the Oslo Academy of the Arts. My work focuses largely on conveying life, philosophies, culture, and stories from Sápmi and out to the world, and with an international perspective, I navigate this journey with a needle and thread as my travel tools. I communicate mainly through textiles, as a designer, crafts(wo)man and textile artist, and practice in a liminal landscape that deals with fashion, performing arts, installation, and other media. My practice is also deeply rooted in thoughts about sustainability, and the practical ways to implement this in art and everyday life. I hold courses in redesign, art and sustainability for both young and older generations, and have worked closely with several institutions that share this form. I find my inspiration in music, nature and through travel. I have my own independent practice, but through all my collaborations I have been able to challenge myself in new ways.