True North

Exhibitor: Siri Hermansen.

In conjunction there will be also a reading with author Marion Palmer and a concert with veteran Sami artist Mari Boine.

The art of Siri Hermansen circuits and engages issues of power, human rights and identity, in particular in relation to the tandem forces of national politics and global capitalism. Her extensive and discerning solo exhibition True North at the Sami Center for Contemporary Art argues and eluciates such current and contemporary concerns in relation to Sápmi and Sami culture.


The continued exploitation of natural resources and neo-colonial politics in Sápmi and Northern Fennoscandia are central themes in Siri Hermansen’s exhibition True North at the Sami Centre for Contemporary Art. Articulated in video works, photographs, objects and installations, Siri Hermansen scrutinize the conflicts between reindeer herding and the mining industry, and between a living Sami culture and the nation states that colonized Sápmi. One particular focal point, real and symbolic, is King Harald’s official apology to the Sami peoples at the 1997 inauguration of the Norwegian Sami Parliament.

In the video Terra Nullius the centuries-old but equally extant conflict between mineral mining and the industrialization of the landscape on the one hand and Samis territorial rights and the survival of reindeer herding on the other. With the mining town of Kiruna as point of departure, where the mining economy is of such strength that the entire town will literally be moved to give space for the expanding mine, the video articulates and manifests this conflict. Through interviews, studies of actual environments and landscapes, as well as participatory observation, this colission between different value systems and life worlds is narrated. Addet Àndagassii / Unnskyld (Apology) in turn treats the effects of the Norwegianization politics carried out by the Norwegian state upon Samis, the exploitation of earth and ocean, and the lack of attention to indigenous rights in the Nordic countries. A very specific thematic throughout the exhibition is the inaugural speech held by Kind Harald V at the opening of the Sami Parliament in 1997, in which the King, on behalf of the Norwegian state apologized for the unjust treatment that the Samis have suffered over many generations.

Kong Harald´s speech pleading apology is the subject of the both meditative and speculative installation UNNSKYLD/TILGIVELSE (APOLOGY/FORGIVENESS) with neonsigns and imprinted logs, where the two words/concepts represent different possible meanings of this public pronunciation. In the video Addet A´dnagassii/Unnskyld, Hermansen refers to then president of the Sami Parliament, Ole-Henrik Magga who reminds us of the important of repeating the act of forgiving. The photographic series Ruptures – Studies of Girjas – examines the manmade industrial landscape around the town of Kiruna. Mediating a sense of the surface of the earth as the skin of the landscape, these images visualise a landscape filled with fractures, cracks, or holes, all caused by the subterranean influences of the mine.


Siri Hermansen works with film, photography, objects, sculptures and installations. She has recently completed a solo exhibition at the Internasjonales Künstlerhause Villa Concordia in Germany. In 2015 she showed works at the National museum of Art in Oslo, The 14th International Seoul New Media Festival and Art Stations Foundation 5050 in Poznan. She has participated in solo- and group exhibitions in Norway, Sweden, Australia, Italy, Finland, Singapore and Benin. Hermansen studied in Paris and holds a MFA from L`école Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts de Paris. She recently completed her PhD studies in practice-based research at Kunsthøgskolen in Oslo.


More information and press material/images, contact:

Jan-Erik Lundström, Sámi Dáiddaguovddáš, +47 90244062, +46 72 5188238,;