Press Release

OCA is proud to announce the opening of the exhibition Let the River Flow. The Sovereign Will and the Making of a New Worldliness on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at 6pm.

The People's Action against the Áltá-Guovdageaidnu Waterway (c. 1978–82) radically shook the course of history in the Nordic region. Its call to "let the river live" was launched against the construction of a large dam across the legendary Álttáeatnu (Áltá river) in Sápmi/Northern Norway. It grew from an unexpectedly broad movement of solidarity across civil society—Sámi, Norwegian and international—in which Sámi artists played a crucial rôle.



International exhibitions

International Archives 1st half of 2018

Let the River Flow. The Sovereign Will and the Making of a New Worldliness
Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Oslo (Norway)
12.04 - 03.06.2018




Exhibition April 12 - June 03, 2018. Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Nedre gate 7 -
0551 Oslo (Norway). T +47 23 23 31 50.







Let the River Flow. Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Oslo

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2018. All Rights Reserved

The Áltá action was a reaction to the profound impact on Sámi communities—their livelihoods, their cultural heritage, and as environmental protectors—of the flooding by the dam of large areas of Sápmi. The resistance movement was as unprecedented within the history of social protest in Europe, as was its dramatic climax—the Sámi hunger strikes in Oslo in 1979. Moreover the Áltá action was part of a new environmental consciousness of the 1970s, as well as the emerging histories of Indigenous empowerment of the time.

Today the action elicits bitter-sweet memories. Some historians have claimed that in catalysing Norway's signature of the United Nations' ILO Convention 169 and the creation of a Sámi Parliament, Kárášjohka, in 1989, the action announced a new era of Nordic de-colonisation. One that potentially placed Norway at the forefront of social justice policy-making worldwide. Yet a new generation of Sámi artists and thinkers claim that this process stalled early on coinciding with the rise of a new economy in Norway, and that the very survival of Sámi culture, land, livelihood and worldviews is in serious danger today. Their voices are being heard in the most prestigious cultural arenas internationally, and play an essential role within the powerful Indigenous movements spreading across the world today—artistically, ecologically and politically.

Let the River Flow is the fruit of three years of dialogue with artists, scholars, and peoples across Sápmi (whose land traverses four nation-states: Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia). The exhibition showcases the essential role of Sámi artists in the action, in particular the seminal Mázejoavku: Sámi Dáiddajoavku (Sámi Artists’ Group, 1978-83), as well as the solidarity of non-Sámi counterparts. It presents rare historic works sidelined from the Nordic art historical canon, a small number of duodji, as well as material from the The archives of the protest movement against the damming of the Áltá-Guovdageaidnu water system, and new contemporary commissions that explore the legacy of Áltá today. Let the River Flow simultaneously claims and challenges the place of Sámi art amongst the new global, modernist, museologies dedicated to expand the canon of art history to a world-scale.

Let the River Flow is curated by Katya García-Antón, with Antonio Cataldo. The project has been honoured by the guidance of an Advisory Council consisting of Sámi scholars, Prof. Harald Gaski and Dr. Gunvor Guttorm. The exhibition design is the result of discussions between the curatorial team and a Sámi-Norwegian collaboration of the architects A-Lab (Káre R. Anti) and Torsteinsen Design.

Artworks, performances and lectures will be presented by: Nabil Ahmed, Áillohaš/Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, Maria Thereza Alves, Jon Ole Andersen, Jimmie Durham, Elle Márjá Eira, Mai-Lis Eira, Pauliina Feodoroff, Aage Gaup, Trygve Lund Guttormsen, Josef Halse, Geir Tore Holm and Søssa Jørgensen, Rose-Marie Huuva, Berit Marit Hætta, Susanne Hætta, Iver Jåks, Keviselie/Hans Ragnar Mathisen, Áine Mangaoang, Britta Marakatt-Labba, Joar Nango and Tanya Busse, Rannveig Persen, Synnøve Persen, Máret Ánne Sara, Arvid Sveen, Catarina Utsi, Elin Már Øyen Vister, amongst other contributors.



Design: Hans Gremmen.