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"I Will Fly So Far" - Merja Aletta Ranttila's Art

Oct 12, 2012 10:40 AM

Merja Aletta Ranttila is a Sámi artist, printmaker and illustrator. On Friday 12 October, a solo exhibition by Ranttila will be opened at the Sámi Museum Siida in Inari in honour of her 30th anniversary as an artist. The exhibition in Inari is special also because Ranttila lives in Inari and is, as an artist, known and well appreciated in the area.

"I Will Fly So Far" - Merja Aletta Ranttila's Art

Merja Aletta Ranttila: "I will Fly so Far". Siida.

Merja Aletta Ranttila was born into a Sámi family of five children in Karigasniemi, Utsjoki, in 1960. Going to a residential school where she was bullied and the Laestadian religion that made her feel guilty left their mark on a girl about to turn into a young woman. In 1980, Ranttila was accepted into and began studying at the Art School of Lapland in Tornio. After graduating, she continued her studies at Rovaniemi Arts and Crafts College, studying graphic design from 1982 to 1986.

At the beginning of her career, Merja Aletta Ranttila got her income from illustrations to textbooks, children’s books and novels and collections of short stories. Ranttila was especially commissioned to make illustrations on Sámi themes. She found her own artistic expression in the early 1990s when she began using lino cutting. The technique enabled her to make, on white, stylised and pitch black silhouette forms that she complemented by painting colour surfaces on them.

Ranttila’s breakthrough into public awareness took place in 1993, when her work was presented at the Aine Art Museum in connection with the triennal art exhibition of the Shaman Summer in Tornio in the south-western corner of Lapland. The devils that haunted pained female figures were disapproved by the clergymen of the north, and the artist was accused of Satanism and shamanism.

After the gloomy works of her initial years as an artist, Merja Aletta Ranttila has started to give her works lighter tones, too, but – even then – there is often a dark shadow flickering in the background. Her art also shows humoristic and mischievous features. The many self-portraits of the artist reflect the soul-searching Ranttila has done in her life.

In recognition of her work, Merja Aletta Ranttila has received, for example, the State Award in Children’s Culture (1993), the Art Prize of Urpo and Maija Lahtinen Foundation (1994) and the Cultural Prize of the Sámi Parliament (2000). Her works of art are included in many distinguished collections, and her art has been displayed in numerous exhibitions both in Finland and abroad. Ranttila lives and works in Inari.

Exhibition will be open from oct 12, 2012 until jan 27, 2013.

Further information:
Merja Aletta Ranttila, aletta(at)mbnet.fi, and Senior Curator Arja Jomppanen, Sámi Museum Siida, tel. +358 40 579 3313,  arja.jomppanen(at)samimuseum.fi

Sámi museum, Siida, Inarintie 46, FI-99870 Inari, tel. +358 (0)400 898 212, siida@samimuseum.fi, www.siida.fi

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