Čohkiideapmi / Falling Shawls
2017, Sámi shawl thread, steel,installation is made out of duodji – sámi handicraft technique, together with 12 sámi woman. Falling Shawls was commissioned by Southbank Centre, London, as part of the Nordic Matters programme in 2017, supported by the Nordic Council.
Photos: Ari Karttunen / EMMA
Čuolmmadit, EMMA– Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Finland 12.9.2018 – 6.1.2019
Both the material and the form of the installation references the shawl that is part of the Sámi dress. The piece is made with the same technique and with the same type of thread used in tying the shawls. The artist was assisted by twelve Sámi women skilled in the traditional Sámi craft or duodji. Creating Falling Shawls collectively was important to the artist. The work spreads out into the gallery, explores its form and engages in a dialogue with the museum’s concrete architecture and the view from its windows. For the Sámi, nature is a cultural space where people live, not something outside the sphere of everyday life. The same principle applies to Falling Shawls: it invites the viewer to enter and participate and enables people to come together.
13 JAN – 31 DEC 2017, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London
Nordic Matters/ Falling Shawls
Each element of the 1000 piece installation contains 35 tassels, handmade by a traditional Sami technique. Sami people are the indigenous people of what is now Norway, Sweden and Finland. Symbols are an important identifier in nomadic cultures, so the Sami duodji tradition – handicrafts that unites function and art – still has a significant and powerful effect today. Twelve other Sami women from across Scandinavia worked with Outi to create the 35,000 tassels needed for Falling Shawls.
In Sami tradition, the Northern Lights are seen as spirits of ancestors. Falling Shawls– hung high within the foyers of Royal Festival Hall – represents a ‘flock’ of spirits, the representation of humanity and people amongst nature.
Outi Pieski said: ‘For me, Falling Shawlsis about how very different our realities are from each other, even though we live in the same space and time. The installation is not one whole object, but many fragments you must see and feel. Falling Shawlsis inspired by the gathering of Sami people, a nomadic monument that heals individuals in their common struggle against the background of history. Based on the Sami revitalisation movement Falling Shawls presents an empowering situation born out of duodji tradition.’
Outi Pieski is a Finnish-Sami visual artist from Utsjoki, the Sami area in northern Finland. In her work there is often a strong connection between nature and the local culture. Her work combines duodji and contemporary art to reopen conversations about the Sami people within Nordic discourse.