Ä´vv Skolt Sámi Museum

The Skolt Sámi people are an ethnic group who form part of the Eastern Sámi people. The Skolt Sámi inhabit the territory on the borders of Norway, Finland and Russia; current estimates put their total number at around 1,000. The Eastern Sámi Museum and the artworks created for it are intended to strengthen Skolt Sámi identity.


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  • Omasum, av Geir Tore Holm. Photographer: Hilde Methi
  • Omasum, Geir Tore Holm. Photographer: Michael Miller
  • Omasum, Geir Tore Holm. Photographer: Michael Miller
  • Omasum, Geir Tore Holm. Photographer: Michael Miller
  • Språkminne / Language Memory, Espen Sommer Eide. Photographer: Michael Miller
  • Språkminne / Language Memory, Espen Sommer Eide. Photographer: Michael Miller
  • Språkminne / Language Memory, Espen Sommer Eide. Photographer: Michael Miller
  • Språkminne / Language Memory, Espen Sommer Eide. Photographer: Michael Miller
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About the project

About the project

Ä´vv Skolt Sámi Museum

About the project

The Eastern Sámi Museum is located in Neiden, a small village in Sør-Varanger right on the border between Norway and Finland. The aim of the museum is to disseminate information about the history and culture of the Skolt Sámi, to examine the situation of the Skolt Sámi today, and to look towards their future. The museum is designed to attract local people and visitors to the area. As well as exhibits, the museum will also host projects in its workshops with the objective of preserving Skolt Sámi craft traditions.

Geir Tore Holm was commissioned to create an art project for the museum: the door handle Omasum, which is the first object one encounters when arriving at the museum. The handle’s shape is inspired by the third stomach, or omasum, of a reindeer. A reindeer’s omasum is round with many folds in the interior. Its form may remind us of how all life is based on circular forms, from cells and drops of water to larger organisms and clouds. Holm also notes that a reindeer herder’s existence involves exploiting every part of the animal. The handle has been cast in brass, a metal which has protective powers in Sámi tradition.

Another, more conceptual, art project created for the museum is Språkminne [Language Memory] by Espen Sommer Eide. Half of the world’s 6,500 languages are under threat, and one such language is Skolt Sámi. There are no longer any Skolt Sámi speakers in Norway, although there are approximately 300-500 in Finland and about 25 in Russia. Språkminne, which comprises video and audio documentation of individual words being spoken in Skolt Sámi, has been installed in the foyer of the museum.

Språkminne is intended to challenge the gloomy predictions that Skolt Sámi is a dying language. But Eide’s verbal archive is double-edged in its effect: the act of collecting fragments of a culture or language for preservation also lends support to the idea of a future where that culture or language has disappeared. At the museum, Skolt Sámi words are “handed over” to visitors, who are thereby assigned the task of preserving them for the future. Through Språkminne, the museum visitors become repositories for Skolt Sámi words, with whatever responsibilities the visitors may choose to impose on themselves in this regard.

The museum was completed in 2008, but has not yet opened to the public due to technical problems with the building.

Facts

Facts

Address

9930 NEIDEN

Date completed

17.06.2010

Project manager

Stine Arnet Høyem, KORO

Art consultant/Art Committee

Hilde Methi

Art Committee

Venke Tørmænen, representing the host institution
Ogmund Sørli, representing Pir II Arkitekter
Odd Tore Skytterholm, representing Statsbygg

Duration

Permanent

Accessibility

Accessible by the public

Program

Art scheme for new government-owned buildings

Kunstverk

Kunstverk

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