Thursday 9 May 2024


The boundaries of our world shrank during the Covid pandemic, as did those of the rest of the world. Much of the world has now forgotten those self-protecting days of isolation - but there are still many, including Louise and myself, whose boundaries are more limited than they used to be. [The official Covid-19 Inquiry is now taking place and will eventually issue its Report; reading my work 'Dying to Know' (2022) will give you access to the bits that the official report will gloss over or leave out altogether. Press this link here if you are interested in buying a copy.]  

We no longer have the desire to cross the continent of Europe in an aircraft to reach Athens and then take a ship to cruise the Aegean to reach the holy island of Patmos, a journey we first undertook in 1988 and then repeated in eighteen of the thirty years before SARS-CoV-2 struck. These pilgrimages brought rest, rehabilitation, and a touch of wisdom - but we have moved on. The memories remain - and the inspirations.

If the motivation to travel distances has declined, the love of discovery has remined intact. It was therefore a joy to accompany our friend, Stephen Vranch, on a visit to the new exhibition at Tate St Ives, featuring the work of Outi Pieski, in March this year.  

Outi Pieski 

Outi Pieski is a Sámi visual artist based in Ohcejohka (Utsjoki), Finland. 

Pieski's paintings and installations explore several themes, including the culture and identity of the Sámi people – who live in the region of Sápmi, which now includes the

northern part of Scandinavia and Kola peninsula in Russia.

In many of her projects, she incorporates duodji (the traditional craft practices of the Sámi people) using materials such as wood and textile. For Pieski, duodji is also a way of revitalising connections between past and future generations.

Outi Pieski - installation at Tate St Ives, 2024  

More Outi Pieski installations at Tate St Ives, 2024

All quite breath-taking... 

Through this thought-provoking show, Pieski raises important questions around ancestral return, indigenous people’s rights, and the relationship between humans, animals and nature.

This is Pieski's debut large-scale exhibition in the UK. It begins with several early works, tracing the artist's development across materials, processes, and influences and increasing involvement as a spokesperson, activist and advocate for Sámi people's rights and environmental stewardship.

Nature through Sami eyes - Outi Pieski at Tate St Ives, 2024 

Another Pieski landscape

Pieski works closely with Eeva-Kristiina Nylander who specialises in Sámi collections in Nordic and European museums, exploring ethical questions and repatriation. Nylander has worked in Sámi museums in Norway and Finland, as well as the Historical Museum in Sweden. Currently she’s working on The Sámi Collection at Museum Europäischer Kulturen (MEK) in Berlin, Germany. In 2020, Eeva-Kristiina Nylander and Outi Pieski launched the book Ládjogahpir - Máttaráhkuid gábagahpir, that presents the past, future, and present stories of the Sámi horn hat - the ládjogahpir - and the rematriation of its existence, use, making and wearing.

Sami horn hats - once forbidden wear, hence the need for rematriation: the rediscovery of an indigenous female custom that became the victim of imperialism within Scandinavia

Iconic - and so beautiful

The image is so strong - its social significance so important - repetition becomes the natural order of the day

Outi Pieski seems to me to be on a mission to teach the world to sing - please let there be more like her.

No comments:

Post a Comment