Archives 2nd half of 2013
In her new work Terra Nullius, for Oslo Fine Art Society, Siri Hermanssen focuses on the ongoing conflict between the mining industry and the Saami’s right to their land. Through microstudies and participant observation, Hermansen takes her point of departure in the mining community of Kiruna and the surrounding Sami areas in northernmost Sweden, located between the mountains Luossavaara and Kiirunavaara.
Exhibition 13 October 2013 -
© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2013. All Rights Reserved
The Saami have inhabited the region for over two thousand years. Their settlement sites and traditional lifestyle based on reindeer herding stand in sharp contrast to the mining companies' interest in the area. Most importantly, their reindeer pastures and migration routes have been damaged, but also sacrificial sites are destroyed as a result of the mining industry. Today, many areas are off limits due to landslides.
Mattias Åhrén, Professor of Law at the University of Tromsø in Norway, state that the legal protection of indigenous people is weaker in Scandinavia than in most other industrialized countries. In 2012, Scandinavian Resources Limited and its subsidiaries Scandinavian Resources Ltd and Kiruna Iron AB were acquired by the Australian company Hannans Reward Ltd., gaining access to copper and gold deposits in Sweden and Norway. Damien Hicks, director of Hannans Reward, describes how easy it is to establish mining in Sweden primarily because of the free availability of mineral databases.
The exhibition consists of two films and a series of photographs depicting the costs involved in the clash between economic, environmental, social and cultural value systems. In one of the films Professor Åhrén characterizes the situation in Sweden and Norway as "colonization in its absolute purest form." When talking about colonialism, the term terra nullius is often used, a no-
In recent years Siri Hermansen's artistic work has come to have an increasingly documentary character, focusing on industrial and post-
The exhibition was made possible through the kind support of Arts Council Norway, Norwegian Artistic Research Programme and BKH.
Siri Hermansen, Closed and restored Iron Mine, Studies of Kiruna and Girjas Samiland, 2013. Digital print on Canson platine 310 gr paper, 21 x 31 cm.