Three resourceful and inventive artistic practices – Marja Helander, Geir Tore Holm, Lena Stenberg – are explored in depth in the exhibition Same, same but different. Thematically, ethnic and national identity, including prejudice and oppression are both explicit subjects of works and implicit or self-evident backdrop. Or even explicitly absent.
Doubly situated, this generation of artists, differently articulating their Sami background, contribute new works commissioned for this particular exhibition. Working across several media – sculpture, photography, installation, performance; Marja Helander, Geir Tore Holm, Lena Stenberg are three sovereign voices in contemporary Nordic art.
Marja Helander participates with her soberly humorous nomad project where she in alluring photographs performs a kind of ethno roleplaying game in search of Sami identity; Geir Tore Holm contributes with his ingenious and cunning installations with political groundswell; and Lena Stenberg with somehow peevishly monumental, but intimate and dense installations.
Very few larger exhibitions or presentations have been conceived where works by Sami artists are introduced to a broad Nordic audience. Sami art and culture including it’s relations to the Swedish art scene, historically and present is largely unexamined. Same, same but different is a part of Bildmuseets long term project Sami art, past and present, and was proceeded by the exhibitions Nils Nilsson Skum and Lars Pirak - den som går runt renhjorden, as well as seminars, film screenings and lectures. The ambition of the project is to initiate an active conversation around Sami art and culture; a dialogue where the bottom line is everyone's right to a democratic and equal cultural choice.
A richly illustrated catalogue to the exhibition includes presentations of and contributions by the participating artists Marja Helander, Geir Tore Holm and Lena Stenberg. The catalogue also features contributions by Sonia Hedstrand, Unn-Kristin Laberg, Anna-Lena Lundmark, Jan-Erik Lundström, Britta Markatt-Labba and Katarina Pirak. In English, Sami and Swedish.
The project is supported by The Swedish National Council for Cultural Affairs; The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Affairs; Letterstedt Foundation; The Nordic Cultural Fund and The Norden Association.