Karen Jomppanen: A Creative and Experimental Artisan

Sámi Museum Siida’s pop-up exhibition showcases creative and experimental Sámi artisan Karen Jomppanen’s (1923–1996) handcraft collection. The heirs of Karen Jomppanen donated her Sámi handcraft collection to the Sámi Museum Siida on September 30th in 2020. Large collection of 220 objects consists of Sámi clothing, dolls, bags, and purses as well as material examples. Connected to the collections there is also archive materials such as slides and patterns along with how-to instructions. Pop-up exhibition produced by Sámi Museum shows a part of this collection.

Preserving Sámi Heritage

The pop-up exhibition of the Sámi Museum Siida introduces Museum’s collections items that were conserved and restored by the students of the Conservation Study Programme of the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in autumn 2019 as a part of their conservation course on indigenous artefacts.

Through the conservation and restoration of Sámi artefacts, the textile and artefact conservators become acquainted with the special features of Sámi objects. The materials of Sámi artefacts mostly come from nature, and the preservation and management of items made from organic material require cultural knowledge and knowledge on how to work the materials.

The diverse cooperation of the Sámi Museum Siida and the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences has been going on for twenty years.


River Teno, one of the greatest streams in Sámi people’s homeland, is over 200 km long. River begins at Karigasniemi village and ends at the rocky landscape of Teno Fjord in Norway. There the River flows into the Arctic Ocean. Teno is the border river between Norway and Finland, and Teno units Sámi people living on both shores.

Northern nature wakes up into great spectacle in the spring, when the ice cover of river Teno breaks up with great power. Spring is followed by bright summer. When the salmon returns to spawn in the river, life is sparkling everywhere. Then the days get shorter, nature is calming down during the colourful autumn. Boats used for salmon fishing are stored for the next summer. In the midst of the winter, only the moon and the northern lights shed light to the cold twilight of the polar night.

The photographs taken by Pertti Turunen from Ivalo exhibit the River Teno, the best salmon river in Europe, its seasons and people living along this great river.

Photo: Pertti Turunen

Wild Light

Eight seasons in Lapland provide also the photographer with great possibilities to experience and live in the world of arctic wild light. The contrasts between neverending light in the summer and delicate pastel colours of the polar night and bright colours in the autumn have fascinated the minds of people for immemorial times. People living in Lapland have adjusted as well their activities according to the seasons.

Jorma Hevonkoski, photographer from Ivalo, has taken photos from northernmost Finland and Norway during ten years.

Photo: Jorma Hevonkoski

Visit also www.wildlight.fi -website

Sámi seremoniijat – Sámi ceremonies

The Sámi Museum Siida’s temporary exhibition Sámi seremoniijat – Sámi ceremonies follows, from the point of view of the Sámi crafting tradition, how Maarit Magga prepares as a mother and an artisan for her family’s ceremonies – confirmation and baptism. The story proceeds on several levels: those of crafting, or duodji, and Sámi values, view of life, customs and spirituality.

The exhibition is an artstic production created by Maarit Magga. It is connected with Magga’s artistic doctoral thesis on duodji, which she is writing for the Faculty of Art and Design of the University of Lapland. Magga works as a doctoral researcher of Sámi crafts and design at the Sámi University of Applied Sciences.

The photographs of the exhibition have been taken by Nilla-Máhtte Magga. The graphic design has been created by Tikkanen Workshop/Hannu Tikkanen. The exhibition has been supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation (Central Fund), the Sámi Museum Siida and the Sámi University of Applied Sciences.

Albma olbmot – Real People

The Sámi Museum Siida’s temporary photograph exhibition “Albma olbmot – Real People” displays Pekka Sammallahti’s black-and-white portraits of people living in the north, showing them in their everyday surroundings. The time span is seven decades, starting from the 1960s. The exhibition focuses on people living on the Teno River and its river system, but there are also portraits from Inari, EnontekiöSodankyläKaaresuvantoGällivare and the Varanger and Alta fjords, etc. The title reflects the rather common custom of indigenous peoples of calling themselves real people. 

Pekka Sammallahti is especially known for his work for Sámi languages and culture. He is an emeritus professor at the University of Oulu and still an active promoter of the Sámi languages. Sammallahti is best known for his dictionaries of several Sámi languages. He grew up in Helsinki but has lived half of his life in VetsikkoUtsjoki. Sammallahti has been an enthusiastic photographer since the 1950s, and he inherited his love for the art from his grandmother, photographer Hildur Larsson from Rovaniemi. His brother, Pentti Sammallahti, is an internationally renowned photographer. Pekka Sammallahti has displayed his photography in solo exhibitions in Inari (2013), Rovaniemi (2015), Oulu (2015) and Hetta (2016) and participated in group exhibitions in Munich (2011), Paris (2011), Helsinki (2016) and Kuopio (2016). In addition, Sammallahti’s photographs have been at display at the Kuusamo Nature Photo Festival (2015) and the nature photography event Camera Borealis in Inari (2016). Of his books, the most notable one is the work “Tuulessa roihuaa maa” (Tammi 2017), which he published together with Antti Haataja; the book was granted a special mention in the 2017 Nature Book of the Year. 

The exhibition has been curated by Marja Helander. Helander is a renowned photographic artist, who has also created short films in the past few years. The exhibition has been produced by the Sámi Museum Siida. 

The Powerful Voices of the Earth

Through his crafts, Laiti also participates in the discussion taking place in society at present. The exhibition is part of Laiti’s master’s thesis on duodji (handicraft and art) at the Sámi University of Applied Sciences, and one of its goals is to communicate – through feedback – with the exhibition visitors and find out about the experiences and feelings that arts and crafts evoke in them.

The Powerful Voices of the Earth exhibition is produced by the Sámi Museum Siida and it is open in Siida from 8th of January to 17th of March 2019.

Photo: Jouni S. Laiti.

Johan Nuorgam – a Sámi cultural broker

The Sámi Museum Siida’s 20th anniversary exhibition tells about Johan Nuorgam. Johan Nuorgam from Lake Iijärvi (1910–78) was an early broker of Sámi culture. He was a connoisseur of Sámi traditions with high proficiency in the Sámi language, whom many researchers used as their source. In the 1930s, he worked as a guide of the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum of the Finnish National Museum, collecting artefacts himself, too. He became a journalist, politician and culturally oriented person, who founded the Inari Sámi Museum at the end of the 1950s.

The exhibition Johan Nuorgam – A Sámi Cultural Broker looks at the colourful life of Nuorgam with the help of words, photographs and artefacts. The exhibition focuses on the rare set of artefacts collected by Nuorgam in the 1930s – a collection which is, at the same time, the first set of artefacts restored to the Sámi Museum by the Finnish National Museum. The photographs, recordings and press cuttings that concern Nuorgam’s life give us a surprising picture of the networks this Sámi man had both in Finnish and Sámi society.

Nuorgam worked as a contributor and editor of the magazine Sabmelaš and as a journalist in the newspaper Tunturisanomat which came out both in Finnish and Sámi; in addition, he was a founder of the Sámi Radio in Finland. His deep knowledge of Sámi culture is manifested in the two-volume book The Lapps in Finland up to 1945 by T. I. Itkonen, and in the exhibition visitors can listen to him telling stories both in Sámi and Finnish. The exhibition also shows the significance of Nuorgam as the person who initiated and carried out the founding of the Inari Sámi Museum: he was ahead of his time as concerns his view of what a museum is.

The exhibition is produced by the Sámi Museum Siida.

Changing Winter

The exhibition helps the visitor to combine existing information about the winter of northern Finland, its animals and landscapes, to the knowledge of the future and to perceive the changes caused by global warming to the northern winter.

The changing winter looks like the winter as we know it, making substantial that which is likely to disappear, and it will raise up those visible changes that are already noticeable. The cutlines of Changing winter capture the climate change as a phenomenon, aiming at concretizing the adverse effects of warming that are difficult to perceive. The Changing Winter -project illustrates the changes reflecting new phenomena in familiar winter enchantments.

The photos of the exhibition are taken by three professional nature photographers of Finland. Bird photos are taken by Markus Varesvuo, landscape photos by Jarmo Manninen and animal photos by Ville Heikkinen. The author of the inscriptions of the exhibition is L.Phil, biologist Pertti Koskimies.

Everyday life of the North – how do the animals of the North live

What is the relationship between man and animal like in the northern nature? What do we see or what do we miss (do we not see) when we look at the forest animals? In the exhibition of the artist Sirpa Mänty, the guest is encouraged to think about the importance of the co-existence, similarities and neighborhood between human and forest animals.

The exhibition consists of miniature sculptures and stories depicting animal characters that seek to expand the perspective beyond everyday life, just as an imagination as a limit.