Balancing Art and Political Statements in Artistic Practice with Marja Helander
Sámi photographer, filmmaker, video and visual artist, Marja Helander discussed Indigenous rights and environmental issues in her creative practice, and in her work in Among All These Tundras.
Helander’s practice is based in her Sámi roots- the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia and Russia. Traditionally Sámi people have lived by reindeer herding, hunting and fishing. In her work, Helander studies the conflict between modern society and the traditional Sámi way of life. She focuses on post-colonial questions, particularly how the mining industry is conquering the Sámi land, and what kind of marks these industries leave on the land.
She states: “In Sámi mythology, the world will end in a natural catastrophe, after which there will remain nothing. In an age of climate change and population growth, it does seem that we are exhausting our planet. On the other hand, if we, humans, disappear, it doesn’t mean that the Earth will disappear. It would be a different world.” Helander draws the viewer in with her visual, beautiful and mysterious work to encourage engagement with these challenging subjects.