Ikon presents the first UK exhibition by renowned Sámi (Swedish) artist Britta Marakatt-Labba.
Under the Vast Sky features embroidered pieces by Marakatt-Labba for which she is best known, including panoramas chronicling the history, culture and cosmology of the Sámi, the Indigenous population of the northernmost parts of Scandinavia. These are combined with other art forms to demonstrate the wide range of her practice. Her work overall strikes a balance between the vernacular, the domestic, the intimacy of daily life, and urgent issues of our time such as climate change and terrorism.
Britta Marakatt-Labba is above all a storyteller. For over four decades she has produced work centred on “an enduring and unending articulation, endorsement and dissemination of Sámi culture – past, present, and future, vernacular, spiritual, material. The ability to affirm, pronounce, tell, share and advocate this heritage and its ongoing transformations, and still acknowledge the colonial wounds and confront centuries of oppression.” Jan-Erik Lundström, curator, Under the Vast Sky
The exhibition is curated by Jan-Erik Lundström, former director of the Sámi Center for Contemporary Art, Karasjok, Norway, and Bildmuseet, Sweden, with Jonathan Watkins, Ikon Director. It is accompanied by a programme of public events and a full-colour publication, including texts by Jan-Erik Lundström, Jonathan Watkins and Linnea Axelsson, Sámi (Swedish) poet.
Ikon’s exhibition by Britta Marakatt-Labba follows a number in the gallery’s programme featuring Indigenous women artists, including Meryl McMaster (Canada, 2019-20), Judy Watson and Yhonnie Scarce (Australia, 2020-2022) and precedes a presentation by Japanese Ainu artist Mayunkiki (9 September – 13 November 2022).
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