Katarina Skår Lisa Gift of Stone, dried cod, installation detail, 2019.
Photo : Susanne Htta, courtesy of the artist

Landscape as Pedagogy: Dancing Sápmi

Nayla Naoufal
To create Gift of Stone, Norwegian Indigenous choreographer Katarina Skår Lisa, who is part of the Sámi people that inhabit Fennoscandia, reflected on what might constitute Indigenous epistemology and methodology, and their impact on modalities of choreographic writing and artistic collaboration. The creative process and the work itself are anchored in the cosmology and practices of Skår Lisa’s community: the Sea Sámis who live mostly along the coast and fjords of northern Norway, whose relationship with the world is marked by their proximity to the ocean.

Gift of Stone relates Skår Lisa’s encounter with the landscape of the Varanger-Várjjat1 1 - Place names are written in Norwegian and in Northern Sámi language. fjord and features an installation and performance that combine contemporary dance, textile work, electroacoustic music, joik,2 2 - Joik, which encompasses several traditions, is the vocal music of the Sámi. Today, it is mostly sung a cappella and is characterized by its circular structure that usually combines repetitive phrases and onomatopoeic vocalizations. A joik pays tribute to a person, landscape, or animal whose experiential presence it summons. It does not represent its object: it is part of it.video, photography, and poetry. The piece grew out of her collaboration with another Sea Sámi artist, Ramona Salo, and other Indigenous artists3 3 - In the initial version of this project presented in Finnmark, these artists included Kven photographer and videographer Torgrim Halvari, Sámi composer and joiker Johan Sara Jr., and Sámi joiker Johan Andreas Andersen..

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