Exhibition on Sámi handicraft starts Sámi Museum Siida’s exhibition year 2019

The Sámi Museum Siida’s first exhibition of this year, “The Powerful Voices of the Earth”, spotlights Sámi handicraft, or duodji. The crafts created by Jouni S. Laiti, a skilled artisan in the field of traditional Sámi handicraft, offers a view of Sámi crafts today. The exhibition provides the visitor with an opportunity to view modern Sámi handicraft both in a traditional form and as modern art.

The crafts of the exhibition tell about the present Sámi concept of beauty and use of materials. Furthermore, Laiti’s crafts contribute to the discussion on the vitality of duodji in the world today, reflecting events that take place in Sápmi and the world in general. Through some of his works, Laiti consciously participates in the present social discourse. For the Sámi, Sámi handicraft does not mean just producing objects from different materials: it is a way of interacting with the community; a language understood by those who have learned to interpret it. The way Laiti engages in social discussion through his craft is an example of the tacit social discussion of the Sámi.

Artisan and teacher of handicraft Jouni S. Laiti comes from Utsjoki. He has worked for many years as a teacher of Sámi handicraft at the Sámi Education Institute in Inari. In his work, Laiti has been especially interested in developing the instruction and preserving the language of duodji. He has reflected on how to develop Sámi craftmaking as a source of livelihood: how could an artisan get an income from craftmaking and how should the products be marketed to potential buyers.

At present, Laiti studies at the Sámi University of Applied Sciences in Kautokeino for a master’s degree in duodji, and the exhibition is part of his thesis. The supervisors for Laiti’s MA dissertation and for the exhibition are duodjiexperts Tuula-Maija Magga-Hetta and Sigga-Marja Magga. One of the objectives of the exhibition is to create a connection between the craft maker and the viewers, and to get feedback from them on the feelings and experiences looking at handicrafts evokes in them. The information produced through a survey in connection with the exhbition will be used as source material in Laiti’s written thesis. Thus, we hope that exhibition visitors will lend some time for research on Sámi handicraft and fill the questionnaire when visiting the exhibition.

The Powerful Voices of the Earth exhibition has been produced by the Sámi Museum Siida, and it will be open from 8 January to 17 March 2019. In the winter season, Siida is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; on Mondays, Siida is closed. Welcome to the exhibition, to listen to the voices of the earth!

Further information:

Áile Aikio, Curator, aile.aikio@samimuseum.fi

Jouni S. Laiti, Artisan, jouni.laiti@gmail.com
Sámi museum, Siida, Inarintie 46, FI-99870 Inari, tel. +358 (0)400 898 212, siida@samimuseum.fi, www.siida.fi

Photo: Máhtte Sikku Valio