Debuting in the Museum Gallery on Saturday November 9 is “Eight Seasons Above the Arctic Circle,” a new exhibition featuring photographer Birgitte Aarestrup’s journey among the Sámi people. Aarestrup is the author of 8 Seasons Above the Arctic Circle: The Sámi of Lapland.
The Sámi are from Sápmi, also known as Lapland, a region that extends across Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, encompassing a vast area of mountainous and forested country, tundra, and wetlands. The only European indigenous group to be formally recognized as aboriginal, the Sámi are renowned for their exquisite crafts and reindeer herding.
The reindeer is both the center of and source for much of the Sámi world. They are so important to the culture that the Sámi year is divided into eight seasons, each relating to the changing nature so important for the traditional life-style and for the reindeer.
The exhibit includes nearly 40 photographs that provide a rare and evocative window into the Sámi landscape and life ways. Aarestrup captured her experiences when she lived with the reindeer herders, listened to their stories around the fire in their traditional kåta birch huts, traveled to the 400-year-old Winter Market, and visited the homes of well-known artisans still creating arts and crafts in the way of their ancestors. She depicts a land of contrasts: of light and dark, of ancient culture and modern technology, with a cold climate warmed by the humans inhabiting it.
In addition to the exhibit, the Museum will present a series of educational events that will feature Sámi culture. Scheduled during the month of January are a gallery talk with Aarestrup, screening of the award-winning documentary film Suddenly Sámi, and a Sámi family program. See Event Calendar.
Born in Denmark and currently residing in both Santa Barbara and Sweden, Aarestrup trained with famed Danish photographer Jorn Freddie where she learned fashion, portrait, and documentary photography. Her tools are purely traditional: Hasselblad and Nikon cameras, film and natural light. “I want to preserve what is left of the Sámi lifestyle for the next generation,” she shared. “I am able to do that through photography.”
The exhibition runs through February 9, 2014.
Elverhøj Museum of History & Art invites visitors to learn more about Scandinavian ancestors of long ago. The new Vikings! display includes stone age Danish tools, replica pieces, and weapons. Informative text and photographs tell of the Vikings’ role in history and in popular culture. For younger explorers, there is a hands-on display table and handouts about the Viking runic “alphabet.”
“Viking” is a term used by modern scholars to refer to the Nordic-speaking peoples from southern Scandinavia who raided, traded and settled in Europe and the British Isles roughly between A.D. 793-1066. In addition to being the fierce warriors of popular stereotype, Vikings were sailors, shipbuilders, farmers, master artists, craftsmen, shrewd businessmen, and fearless explorers. Their activities stimulated political changes in Europe and Russia; created lasting new societies in Iceland and Greenland; and led to the discovery of North America 500 years before Columbus.
The museum has had the opportunity to add new artifacts to the existing collection. These items include a Viking era sword, an ornamental replica axe, and jewelry.
Schedule a private tour for your group or class by phoning (805) 686-1211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOLVANG ROOM EXHIBIT
People have shared their personal photo albums, scrapbooks, and stories with us. Organizations have donated information about themselves. Other museums have generously assisted. A UCSB intern and a Cal State researcher contributed some expertise. Even the Danish embassy got involved and furnished photos of Denmark’s royal family.
The Elverhøj Museum of History and Art encourages art exhibition proposal submissions from individual artists and artist groups. The guidelines are intended to help expedite the review of these submissions by insuring that each proposal is as complete as possible. Proposals for exhibitions at the Elverhøj must include both written and visual components.
A copy of the artist proposal guidelines is available for download.