installation with paintings and wood

Anders Sunna, Installation view, Illegal Spirits of Sápmi, Chapter 5, 2023 Photo: Helene Toresdotter/Moderna Museet ©Anders Sunna Bildupphovsrätt 2023

Sami experiences in the story of Sweden

Half-day seminar

24.11 2023


Meet the acclaimed artists Anders Sunna, Carola Grahn, Katarina Pirak Sikku and the award-winning author Linnea Axelsson, all of whom have engaged in artistic portrayals that reflect and further the understanding for the Sami people’s struggle and exposure during the building of the Swedish welfare state.

Moderna Museet is organising a half-day seminar in Malmö and Stockholm, which will be broadcasted live on Facebook. The seminar is presented in conjunction with three monumental works currently shown at Moderna Museet: Anders Sunna’s “Illegal Spirits of Sápmi” (in Malmö), and Carola Grahn’ “Horizon of Me(aning)” and Lars Pirak’s painting “Untitled” (in Stockholm). All three works are in the Moderna Museet collection.

Lars Pirak (1932–2008) created his large painting in the late 1980s, portraying his parents in a vast mountainous landscape, specifically to be hung in the family’s Lapp cot in Parka, south-east of Kvikkjokk. In the installation “Illegal Spirits of Sápmi”, Anders Sunna portrays the family’s five-decade-long conflict with Swedish authorities. Carola Grahn’s sculpture addresses the silence around the need to talk about mental health issues, and was created in reaction to the high suicide rate in Sápmi.

The discussions are facilitated by the journalist Åsa Lindstrand, editor-in-chief of the magazine Samefolket.

Painting of a northern landscape, reindeer and reindeer herders in the foreground and fire in the background
Lars Pirak, Untitled 1980's. Photo: Tobias Fischer/Moderna Museet © Lars Pirak / Bildupphovsrätt 2023
Closeup of Carola Grahns artwork Horizon of Me(aning)
Carola Grahn, Horizon of Me(aning), 2021 Photo: Mattias Lindbäck/Moderna Museet


13–13.05 (Malmö)
Susanne Lindblad, curator of learning at Moderna Museet Malmö, welcomes participants.

13.05–13.15 (Malmö)
Åsa Lindstrand, journalist and editor-in-chief of Samefolket, presents the programme for the afternoon and offers some reflections of her own.

13.15–13.30 (Stockholm)
Ulf Eriksson, curator at Moderna Museet, and the digital host for the event, introduces himself. Matilda Olof Ors, exhibition curator at Moderna Museet Stockholm, and the curator of “Pink Sails”, introduces the exhibition.

13.30–14.05 (Stockholm)
Katarina Pirak Sikku, artist, holds a presentation, including a 5-minute Q&A session.

We listen to the artist Katarina Pirak Sikku talk about her father Lars Pirak’s artistic practice, and her own practice, which often explores the history of her family. By highlighting personal stories, she also captures shifts in power structures, norms and values.

Katarina Pirak Sikku (b. 1965) grew up in Jokkmokk, where she continues to live and work.

14.05–14.40 (Malmö)
A discussion between Anders Sunna, exhibiting artist, and Joa Ljungberg, curator of exhibitions at Moderna Museet Malmö and the curator of “Illegal Spirits of Sápmi”. The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions after the talk.

For the first time since the acclaimed premiere exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2022, “Illegal Spirits of Sápmi” is now being shown at Moderna Museet Malmö. This work portrays how the artist’s family has battled with Swedish authorities for half a century.

Anders Sunna (b. 1985) grew up in a family of Sami reindeer herders in Kieksiäisvaara in Norrbotten. He now lives in Jokkmokk.

14.40–15 Coffee break

15–15.35 (Malmö)
Carola Grahn, artist, presentation including a 5-min Q&A session.

Carola Grahn talks about her installation “Horizon of Me(aning)”, which currently dominates the first gallery in the exhibition “Pink Sails” at Moderna Museet Stockholm. The sculpture addresses the silence surrounding, and the need to talk about mental health issues, and was created in response to the high suicide rate in Sápmi.

Carola Grahn (b. 1982) grew up in Jokkmokk and now lives in Malmö.

15.35–16.10 (Stockholm)
Linnea Axelsson, award-winning author and PhD in art history.

Based on her writing, Linnea Axelsson talks about her two most recent books, “Ædnan” and “Magnificat”, where the characters are Sami, with the themes this involves.

Linnea Axelsson (b. 1980) was born in Porjus, Norrbotten, and now lives in Stockholm.

16.10–16.45 (Malmö och Stockholm)
Concluding discussion with all the participants.

16.45–17 (Malmö)
The facilitator Åsa Lindstrand rounds off the afternoon with some concluding thoughts.

installation with paintings and wood
Anders Sunna, Installation view, Illegal Spirits of Sápmi, 2023 Photo: Helene Toresdotter/Moderna Museet ©Anders Bildupphovsrätt 2023