Elisabeth Meyer: It’s better to keep going than standing still

The Sami Center for Contemporary Art welcomes back the public!

We are re-opening with two summer exhibitions. One of these is Elisabeth Meyer: It is better to keep going than staying still. The exhibition opens on Saturday July 4th at 6pm.


Photographer and journalist Elisabeth Meyer has been a forgotten chapter in Norwegian photo history for a long time. For 30 years her pictures were forgotten in a garage. The reportage photographer, born in Tønsberg in 1899, travelled to exotic places already in the 1930s. She met Mahatma Gandhi while he was imprisoned in India and she visited Kemal Atatürk in Turkey. In 1929, she was probably the first western woman to enter Persia (today’s Iran). After finishing her photography education in Berlin and Prague from 1937-39, her first travels were actually to Finnmark. Thanks to a keen teacher in Kjøllefjord, Øystein Sunde, and a forward-looking librarian in Vadsø, Sissel Jakola, the photographs Meyer took in Finnmark ended up at the county library photo archive in 1999. The archive has approximately 1600 original negatives in the Elisabeth Meyer photo collection. Around 600 of these are from Sami areas, mostly from Karasjok and Kautokeino.

At last a selection of photos from Karasjok can now be displayed at the Sami Center for Contemporary Art. The project is the result of a close collaboration with Kárenaš Sami language and cultural center in Karasjok. SVD / DSS Museum and History Association in Karasjok has worked independently with identification of the photographs, contacting old people in Karasjok, collecting stories and joiks with connections to the photos. This traditional knowledge and cultural heritage will be of great value to posterity.

Exhibition period 04.07. – 27.09.2020