Queen Sonja highlights Sami art in new exhibition in Queen Sonja’s Art Stable

After being closed for a few weeks, Queen Sonja’s Art Stable in Oslo is now open again with a brand new exhibition. It was Her Majesty The Queen who opened the brand new exhibition on Thursday evening. The exhibition shows the art from three generations of Sami artists. It is the largest presentation of Sami art in Oslo ever.

Her Majesty arrived on Thursday evening from the Royal Palace, which lies just behind the Queen’s Gallery. Princess Astrid, the King’s sister was also present. It was all opened with a musical performance with Sami instruments. Then, Her Majesty held a speech where she thanked the artists and opened the exhibition. Artist Synnøve Persen; curator, Knut Ljøgodt; and President of the Sami Elected Representatives, Aili Keskitalo also spoke. The opening ended with several musical elements.

Queen Sonja and Princess Astrid arrive at the opening. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen / Royal Central.

The Queen gave a beautiful speech where she raised Sami culture and tradition. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen / Royal Central.

The exhibition shows a total of 60 artistically works from both Norway, Sweden and Finland. The art pieces are made from 1970 to today and include a total of 13 artists. Swedish-Sami Britta Marakatt-Labba’s “The story” (Historja) is a monumental tapestry, over 20 metres wide, where the artist has embroidered motifs from Sami history, society and way of life back to mythical times.

The artists draw inspiration from Sámi traditions for their works in different ways. In several of her pieces, Swedish-Sámi Rose-Marie Huuva explores the use of reindeer skin. These works are inspired by the many years the artist spent reindeer herding with her family in Karasjok. Although many of the artists represented here refer to Sámi traditions or themes, most of them work within an international modernist or contemporary idiom.

One of the works of art exhibited is an embroidery which is a total of 24 meters long. It shows scenes from the history of the Sami people. Here we see the section illustrating the Kautokaine uprising. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen / Royal Central.

Everyone who contributed to the exhibition received flowers from the Queen. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen / Royal Central.

The press was invited to see the exhibition on Thursday morning, and Royal Central’s Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen was present. He describes the exhibition:

“Seeing Sami art exhibited in royal locales in the middle of Norway’s largest city is special in several ways. Most of all, it is nice to see that the Sami culture today is so accepted to where there are rooms for it, even in the Royal Family. Sami art is unique. It differs greatly from Norwegian art, and even more so from continental European art. Even for someone living in a country with many Sami people, this art is almost exotic. This new exhibition in Queen Sonja’s Art Stable is a great collection of both modern and old Sami art. It is definitely worth a visit for those who make their journey to Oslo this spring and summer.”

The new exhibition will be on display until the end of August.

Her Majesty with Sami artists. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen / Royal Central.

Her Majesty with Sami artists. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen / Royal Central.

The Sámi people are a Finno-Ugric people inhabiting large parts of Norway and Sweden, northern parts of Finland, and the Murmansk Oblast of Russia. The Sámi have historically been known in English as Lapps. Traditionally, the Sámi have pursued a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing, fur trapping, and sheep herding and as a semi-nomadic reindeer herding people.

“Queen Sonja’s Art Stable” was opened the summer of 2017 on Queen Sonja’s 80th birthday. This gallery is located in the old stable buildings in the Palace Park, and that has never been accessible to the public before. From now on, the building will be a new arena for art, culture and history in Oslo and is worth a visit by those in the city. It will contain various exhibitions.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.