Art Ii Biennial 2016

The Art Ii Biennial 2016 studied interlinkages between environmental art and the use of natural materials in the Sámi crafts tradition; the theme was “The Poetics of Material”. The event aimed to create new suggestions for how traditional Sámi livelihoods and Sámi identities could be conceived in our modern global economy and politics.  Artists were chosen for this biennial on the basis of how connectedness to nature was manifest in their work.


Marja Helander

Marja Helander, born in 1965, lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. Helander graduated as a painter from the Lahti Institute of Fine Arts in 1992 and as a photographer from the University of Art and Design in Helsinki in 1999. Since then she has presented her art in solo and group exhibitions both in Finland and abroad. Helander’s work explores the question of identity with regards to her Sámi background, the Sámi being the indigenous people of Scandinavia. Her recent work has focused on landscapes in which dark, mysterious views are portrayed without people. These portray the modern union between nature and mankind as not harmonious, but dark.

Maria Therese Stephansen

Maria Therese Stephansen, born in 1981, lives and works in Hammerfest, Finnmark, Norway. She works as the manager of education services, exhibition curator and project manager for The Museum of Reconstruction for Finnmark and North Troms. She is also a freelance curator, writer and producer. She was the project manager for HFT 2013 – Nasjonal kunstfestival, a national art festival focused on in-situ art; in addition, she is the chairman of Hammerfest Kunstforening. Stephansen obtained her master’s degree in visual culture from Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim on the subject of social art projects. Stephansen’s work covers a broad range of activities in the cultural field, and she takes a special interest in dance, performance, political and activist art, social/community art projects and in contemporary art in general, with a deeper interest in Sámi art as well as contemporary art from the Middle East.


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