Exhibitions at Havremagasinet Länskonsthall on Urgent Issues of Our Time

Project Spotlight: Selected artists from Northern Sweden, featured in recent shows curated by Mariangela Mendez Prencke, ask critical questions about climate, human rights, history and identity.

Land Climate Possible Futures
An exterior view of a six-storey building with yellow walls, a white fence in front, and a black roof.

This article’s profile of Carola Grahn’s exhibition contains content that may distress some readers, especially those who have experienced harm, abuse and/or intergenerational trauma due to historic and ongoing colonial practices.

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An exterior view of a six-storey building with yellow walls, a white fence in front, and a black roof.
Exterior of Havremagasinet Länskonsthall.

With an exhibition area of ​​3,600 square meters, Havremagasinet Länskonsthall (Havremagasinet, Regional Art Gallery of Norrbotten) in the city of Boden is one of Sweden’s largest venues for contemporary art. While size is not all that matters, the gallery’s six floors provide space for enabling encounters with art and its commitment to the most critical and urgent issues of our time.

Havremagasinet Länskonsthall was started in 2010 on the initiative of the artist collective Kilen. Its main financiers are the municipality of Boden and the Norrbotten Region.

Havremagasinet’s year-round program of exhibitions of contemporary art addresses current global topics, often exploring connections to our specific context in Norrbotten, Sápmi and the Barents region. Artists exhibiting at Havremagasinet are interested in topics such as the climate crisis, migration, democracy, human rights, integration, gender equality, the experiences of minorities, or simply what it is like to live in our time—which certainly is not always easy.

Havremagasinet works for a sustainable and equal world, in solidarity with people and life on our planet.

The gallery’s temporary exhibitions, including artists from Norrbotten, Sweden and the world, are  complemented by a lively range of programs and extensive educational activities. Havremagasinet has its own café, studio for pedagogy, and rooms for public events. As a regional art gallery, Havremagasinet also carries out projects of various kinds throughout the region.

In this article, viewers are invited to explore a selection of works from recent exhibitions at Havremagasinet, and to learn more about the included artists’ practices.

Four collages in green, red, blue, and yellow tones based on paper-doll dresses, hung on the gallery wall.
Jette Andersen, Livet I tingen vi lämner efter oss (Life in the Things we Leave Behind) (2019). COURTESY HAVREMAGASINET.

Jette Andersen
Livet I tingen vi lämna efter oss  (Life in the Things We Leave Behind)

In previous works, Jette Andersen has worked with childhood memories, coloring books, pictures and toys that she has reworked and revisited through the years. In Livet i tingen vi lämnar efter oss (Life in the Things We Leave Behind), she presented three new works with a common grounding in memories and memorabilia, a sense of place, recycling as a method, and aging as a driving force. In her own words, “it is like when the generation before us passes away, and we must take care of their remains. So, you ask yourself, what will my remains look like? Who am I when seen through my things? What is a life when seen through what we leave behind?”

For this exhibition, Andersen cut up some of her old croquis of live models, turning them into collages. She also made collages out of paper doll dresses she created when she was 10 years old. In her retelling, drawing the dresses and imagining the places and situations where the dresses could be worn was more engaging than actually playing with the dolls. 

A variety of objects (including gloves, picture frames, silverware and tools) are carefully arranged on a black platform on the gallery floor.
Jette Andersen, Livet I tingen vi lämner efter oss (Life in the Things we Leave Behind) (2021). COURTESY HAVREMAGASINET.

The third work in the exhibition was an installation made of two large tabletops where Andersen carefully assembled a series of objects made in all sorts of materials—glass, metal, wood, plastic, leather, paper, textiles.The objects Andersen included also vary in function: some are toys, some are tools, some are just fragments of something larger, like bones of an animal or crystals from a chandelier. The objects had been accumulating over time at her home, or as she refers to it, “my place, my destiny, my security, but also my constraint.” 

The objects were sourced or collected in different ways through the years, but nothing new was acquired for the project. When Andersen started these new works, she decided she would only use what was already in her place. These objects that were waiting patiently to be rediscovered, recycled, and put back into use, were thus arranged in two large compositions, suggesting a sort of archeology of bits and pieces.  

In their seemingly inevitable status as debris, these objects can perhaps give clues of how we humans navigate the world, for they donot just evoke nostalgia for the past, bygone ways of crafting and living. On the contrary, it seems they propose a liberating rupture. When arranged as an artwork, these objects become something else; they invite a reflection about themselves, their history, and the people connected to them. They no longer signify because of their use or service—instead we are asked to contemplate them in their beauty or ugliness, their presence, and materiality. We are asked to imagine them as pieces of something larger, capable of generating hypotheses about a life. 

The empty spaces between each object contribute to the construction of the whole, a whole that nonetheless is never complete. It appears that the border of the bases can barely contain the expansive nature of the objects. As if the fragments were a unit of measure with the single purpose to make us understand the monumental scale of human material production. As if all these fragments shout: enlarge me! complete me! remember me! reinvent me!

A large black-and-white print on textile hangs from the top of the wall in the Havremagasinet exhibition space. It depicts a densely patterned mountain, seen reflected in a lake below.
Agneta Andersson, Inside Out (2021). COURTESY HAVREMAGASINET.

Agneta Andersson
Inside Out — 2021

The city of Kiruna and its vast mine are one key reference in Agneta Andersson’s art. In previous works, she has depicted urban spaces in Kiruna that are being fundamentally transformed—if not erased—due to the ongoing relocation of the city because of the mine’s expansion. The mine—one of the world’s largest—started its excavations in the 1890s and by 2004, the mining company LKAB and the city government initiated a plan for the relocation of the city to allow for the mine’s continued expansion. Since 2015, parts of the inner city of Kiruna are being emptied and demolished, and citizens are being relocated, forced to reimagine their future. 

Inside Out is a recently produced series of black and white linoleum cuts depicting landscapes around Kiruna. In these new works, Agneta Andersson has rediscovered forests, bodies of water, and natural landscapes of her childhood, forgotten or neglected in her acknowledgment while busy mourning the city’s disappearance.

Form and content speak intimately with each other in Agneta’s art. Her earlier large drawings portraying demolished houses in Kiruna´s centre were made in charcoal, a material that reminds us that coal is an essential mineral for the production of steel—steel is the alloy of iron with carbon; iron ore is the material extracted from the Kiruna mine. The newer works were made with a technique that cuts the surface, as the mine itself does with the landscape. And in the carving process of the linoleum cuts, the removed areas of the linoleum surface work as a reverse mirror in making the image. What disappears is what shapes or becomes the final images. It is a technique that emphasizes contrasts, like existing in the absence. 

As in most of Agneta’s work, black and white were the only colors in the exhibition, just as Inside Out–the exhibition’s title–also played with dualities and oppositions. The two colors resonate strongly in expressing sadness, grief, and mourning in the face of loss and disappearance. These new works are about mourning—now also mourning the loss of her life partner. Yet the loss of the city lingers as an element as well. But they are also a labour of healing; the linoleum cuts are a celebration of a landscape that now provides comfort and consolation.

As she herself has described it: “The motifs are recognizable, common and personal. [There is] time to look back, but at the same time [there is the] both difficult and inspiring task in looking forward, towards the new. To create about that which gives strength to that which has not yet appeared, socially and creatively, in our lives.” 

The large single print that was installed in the middle of the exhibition is a double reflection of the horizon—the forest and its reflection on the water both doubled or mirrored, creating a third image, an uncanny presence, again of what is no longer there. A ghost-like abyss that consumes Kiruna—becomes a fundamental presence. In her mirroring of the cliffs, the hole, Agneta Andersson turns a negative space into a positive space, into what might be read as a possible new horizon.

A textile work in red on a black background shows a series of intersecting, semi–transparent red octagons cut from tulle, with the shapes meeting to form their densest red at the centre of the composition.
Victoria Andersson, Calibration (2021). COURTESY HAVREMAGASINET.

Victoria Andersson
In Time — 2021

In her exhibition In Time, Victoria Andersson composed works over white or black textile backgrounds, a series of reflections about time and its passing. Nature, something we assume, is an endless resource has been a constant presence in her work, however, in the context of this exhibition, a sense of threat or even emergency lingered. A “caution ribbon” or a warning tape made in textile marked the site, suggesting that something has happened. This sensation was underlined by the Morse code sound that filled the space: “SOS, SOS, SOS… Help! The clock is ticking.”

The sound belongs to her video Tiden Lider (a play on words as it can mean both “time suffers” and “time goes on”). In the animated video, a needle moves in a circular motion erasing beads, laid out like a clock, one by one as it passes. The Morse code SOS, the universal sign for help, is also repeated in the pattern formed by the beads in their layout. And fire, as an urgent metaphor, expands in all directions and in different compositions.

With a series of collages made in tulle, she explores the effects of light, its refraction into prisms of color; the opacity of clouds, the black on black of a new moon, and the warm tones of a sunset, or the orange reflections of a forest burning. Like a moth towards the flame, we seem enchanted and thus helpless by our destruction. SOS the clock is ticking.

In the work Heartwood, the ring of a tree—a clock of another much slower tempo—is embroidered in black thread over black textile. The wood ring seems to bleed, or is it perhaps oil that drips? Or tears? From a witness saddened by the destruction, it records? Her work asks the existential questions of our time.

In the middle of the room, two large embroideries were installed, depicting a barren landscape. A few treetops (like the tip, if an iceberg) allow us to imagine the scope of the destruction at ground level left by clear-cutting, deforestation, the industrialization of forests, and excessive timber consumption. Forests are burning, and what Victoria Andersson portrays in her painstakingly slow process of embroidering records it—like in the rings of a tree—almost as if a second could be equated with a stitch. The stitches here, like in the clock, only seem to reinforce that time is out.

A projection in black and white showing the artist at centre with musical equipment and microphones in a studio behind her, is installed at Havremagasinet.
Video work by Sara Edström installed at Havremagasinet (2020). COURTESY HAVREMAGASINET.

Sara Edström
Midlife Crisis Pop Songs — 2020

After many years of working with sculpture as a medium of expression, artist Sara Edström required a change to meet her need to find a language that could give an account of the crisis, and the doubts she was experiencing at a particular moment in life. At the age of 50 Sara Edström began to make songs. Words had to come out, and music, that addressed the strong and intimate confessions that Sara Edström needed to voice. Moreover, music weighted words with a body, exposing it in the thematics, bringing it forth with movements and dance, grounding the voice, giving it weight, raising it up and down to the rhythm of the songs. She calls these series of sound and video works her Midlife Crisis Pop Songs.

The work presented at Havremagasinet were a selection of the songs Sara wrote and produced during the quarantine days spent in her studio in Berlin in 2020, under then-current restrictions to reduce the spreading of the coronavirus. These songs are thus a document of the reflections and thoughts produced in solitude, again in the middle of a crisis, although now also one of another kind.

Sara has said “I have nothing to say. Nothing that has not been said millions of times before. Said by others much better(…). The order is stuck in the body. They come out of my flesh. It is not something separated and cerebral with the words. They are as ugly as I am. Equally banal and equally awkward.” And yet, she finds the words and the rhythms to express all these things that sound so familiar for many of us. And she manages to say it anew, to say it strongly, for the words that wants to come out are precious words.To speak out is also to believe that someone else is listening, with faith that these words  “that we are all just as valuable as anybody,” are perhaps also worth something for someone else.

Credit: Sara Edström, Tired to the Bone / Trött ända in i märgen (2020). COURTESY THE ARTIST AND HAVREMAGASINET.



A view into a gallery space with white walls and wooden floors and beams. In the centre of the space is a sculpture in the form of a wooden bed frame with a blue and red blanket laid on it, while several prints of poems in various shades of pink and brown are installed on the wall behind it.
Installation view of works by Carola Grahn at Havremagasinet (2019). COURTESY HAVREMAGASINET.

Carola Grahn

In her work Carola Grahn unfolds her ongoing investigation of the gap between how society looks at her—as Sámi, woman, artist, mother—and how she perceives herself and the world. Grahn explores the discrepancy between the individual self and all the roles one is expected to perform in relation to other people and to society-at-large. 

Carola Grahn’s work is in keeping with the feminist slogan “the personal is political.” Most everything that is at stake or addressed in her work makes use of real-life events. Nonetheless, her work is not reducible to autobiography. Grahn’s strategy is rather to craft for herself a persona, a profile—an edge—with which to tackle society’s demands and impositions of having to be an “adequate” woman, an “acceptable” other, or an “authentic” Indigenous person. As she herself has manifested in one of her poems, “It is the impossibility that entices [Det är omöjligheten som lockar].” 

As such, much of Carola Grahn’s work involves staging, enacting, and performing practices to parody imagined constructions of the “other.” The playfulness, the dark humour and ironic attitude of her work, the avoidance of nostalgia, the absence of romantic gazes—visible in her selection of objects of popular culture and materials, in her chosen tone of voice —challenge the preconceptions and stereotypes frequently assigned to indigeneity. Through her practice, she makes viewers question our understanding of “tradition,” of roots and collective identity; our definitions of ourselves in relation to others, our norms regarding identity, class, gender, ethnicity. Which cultures are ordained to remain frozen in the past when seen from within colonial history? Why are certain cultural identities consumed as commodities like ice cream, as souvenirs at museum shops? And, furthermore, who is entitled to make such demands or establish such practices? Who controls the image? And how is your image of self, of other and other world referents, formed and controlled? 

Like wood when it meets fire, our selves, our personas, no matter our gender, our cultural background or origins, are constantly evolving as we meet and engage with others. Carola Grahn’s collection of stories and narratives—whether sculptures, objects, text works, installations or videos—can be seen as gathered research material, both factual and fabled, with which she charts the movements between multiple selves and experiences, evidencing the individual collage we all are. In her assemblages of stories and referents, Carola Grahn brings forward fragmentation and difference. This is her unifying approach, her offering of referents in which we yet may meet.

A wool blanket with simplistic red, white and blue illustrations depicting Sámi reindeer herders is embroidered with the phrase “Godnatt lille lapp, godmorden svensk,” and installed on a wooden bed frame in the gallery space.
Carola Grahn, Godnatt lille lapp (Goodnight little lapp) (2019). COURTESY HAVREMAGASINET.

The phrase Godnatt lille lapp, godmorgon svensk [Good night little Lapp, good morning Swede] is embroidered with blue cotton thread on a woolen blanket, used in the boarding schools to which Sámi children were sent under government policy, between 1900 to the end of 1970s. The embroidered phrase identifies the contradiction implicit in the policy implemented during the late 1800s by the Swedish state towards the Sámi, under the expression lapp ska vara lapp [a lapp is to remain a lapp]. The oppressive system of boarding schools separated the Sámi children from their families, alienated them from their mother tongue, while at the same time promoting a curriculum not aimed at an appropriate education, matching the needs for higher education. The boarding school system neither empowered the Sámi in the sense of functioning in Swedish society nor supported the Sámi culture as is. The segregation policy resulted instead in language loss and the swedification (försvenskning) of the Sámi. The conflicted experiences of the Sámi school child are eloquently summoned in the blanket and the Swedish imagined Sámi motives of the pattern that adorns them.

Four long pages in various hues of pink (from beige to maroon) are intaglio–printed with poems by Carola Grahn, and installed in a line along a white gallery wall.
Carola Grahn, Poems (2013–2019). COURTESY HAVREMAGASINET.

The presence of text in Carola Grahn´s work points to equivalents and powerful connections between reading or listening and viewing. Her poems are both made of and evoke strong images. Can the land itself cry out? Carola Grahn’s poetry gives nature a voice. Her cycle of poems, written from 2013 and forward, take place in a northern landscape. They insist on a dismal or bleak outlook, they embody inner struggles, often relaying hazardous experiences at the edge of existence or stoically facing death. The I in the poems is both individual and collective. Sometimes it seems to be the voice of nature, other times it is the artist, only to shift back to nature again; she, a mountain, a stone, a ptarmigan, a birch… There’s a flow of life and death and pain and life again, a desperate yet fearless attempt to reconnect to the land.

A view of a gallery space at Havremagasinet shows two shallow platforms with a tic-tac-toe grid etched on them, and large carved stones placed on top. Suspended stretchers of moss and dried plants hang parallel to the floor, between the gallery’s beams, throughout the installation On the back wall is a large-scale charcoal drawing of a root system.
View of the installation Tic-Tac-Toe by Birgitta Linhart at Havremagasinet (2021–2022). COURTESY HAVREMAGASINET.

Birgitta Linhart
TIC-TAC-TOE — 2021-2022

As artist Birgitta Linhart describes:

Plant-based materials always determine form and story in my exhibitions. The beard lichen lead the way in this one. The figure of a stretcher came to me during preliminary work with the material, and the image etched itself in my mind. For two years, this idea grew and was formalized.

Beard lichen is the tentacles of the Earth. It grows where the forest is untouched and without pollution. So when Havremagasinet presented Earth/Soil as a theme for 2021, I thought, here is a place for the lichen to tell its story. The Willowherb came along unexpectedly and told its story of bird’s nests. The state of the forest is magical and fills you with calm, possessing a sense of beauty that I would like to convey to everyone as a reminder of what we have, of what is worth protecting.

A view of a gallery space at Havremagasinet shows a large ball of roots suspended from the ceiling. In the foreground, a hanging blanket of beard lichen is suspended like a stretcher.
View of the installation Tic-Tac-Toe by Birgitta Linhart at Havremagasinet (2021–2022). COURTESY HAVREMAGASINET.

The roots are drawn with charcoal, and are based on a site-specific work titled Pray that I made last summer in Finland. A large portion of the work was made up of a tree with all of its roots intact. I burned them charcoal black. It made me think of Earth itself. The roots in TIC-TAC-TOE are larger and more magnificent—like Mother Nature, like a God figure painted on the altarpiece of a shrine.

In front of this large drawing, instead of an altar where offerings are placed worshiping a deity, there is a game of tic-tac-toe. It is a wordplay with double meanings, capturing the essence of the exhibition—a game, a gamble with nature, but also the sound of a clock, tic-tac, tic-tac.

Three sculptures forming shapes of arms are installed on a white wall, pinned with the hands facing downwards. Each sculpture uses a combination of materials—wire, fur, bone, wood, metal, and plaster among them.
Sculptures by Olof Marsja at Havremagasinet (2020). COURTESY HAVREMAGASINET.

Olof Marsja

Olof Marsja (b 1986), with roots in the municipality of Gällivare contributed a generous and varied selection of works to his recent exhibition at Havremagasinet. His cultural and linguistic affiliations find resonance in illuminating also the cultural complexity of the Norrbotten region. Olof Marsja is of a Sámi family, but was exposed to Swedish in schooling and in society-at-large—a dual heritage also identifiable in his art. In the last few years, Olof Marsja has established himself as a resourceful and accomplished sculptor and object-maker.

Olof Marsja’s exhibition of recent sculptures, some of which were produced directly for the show, unveiled Marsja as a maker of grafted, hybrid, amalgamated figures and objects, that blend treated or reworked materials with found things or discarded goods—all of which are processed, reassembled and transformed into new entities or beings. In the digital era, Olof Marsja’s sculptures underline the critical potentiality of physical matter, materials, textures and things. His sculptures ground the voice of the avatar of cyberculture with textures, shapes, and the laws of gravity and erosion that characterize the physical earthly world.

A view of a gallery space featuring four royal blue plinths, each with a sculpture atop it, made from various readymade objects and materials.
Sculptures by Olof Marsja at Havremagasinet (2020). COURTESY: HAVREMAGASINET.

Olof Marsja collects objects, materials, and allows them to transform, mutate into works of art in his studio. As he himself puts it: “There are things that I have carried with me for a long time and which are connected with my personal history, my Sámi background. They are side by side with things that I have found in the ditch or on a shelf in a warehouse of construction materials.” Sámi duodji materials (such as reindeer skin and ribbons, other animal hides sourced from relatives and friends) show up together with a pair of old runners and a Lidl plastic bag. Such found materials and objects are in turn combined with ingredients such as hand-blown glass, carefully carved wood or casted metal. In the meeting between these disparate and different things and elements, the individual stories—anecdotal, existential, personal, political—contributed by each component are joined and brought together in large anthropomorphic figures or smaller metaphorical objects. Using these different materials, crafts and techniques is for Marsja also a method for unsettling or undermining existing critical aesthetic categories such as good/bad, beautiful/ugly, contemporary/traditional, spiritual/physical, useful/useless, new/used, or finished/unfinished. As Marsja also notes: “I draw inspiration from my background in duodji, medieval art, popular culture and everyday life in the urban metropolis I live in.”

Ppez (made with an exquisite list of ingredients: glass, birch burl, linden wood, reindeer horn, aluminium, concrete, a garbage can, tin can, stainless steel) is a new and central work from this year, serving here as an illustrious and representative example of the art of Olof Marsja. The artist describes the process as follows:

Ppez started with a nahppi (a milk bowl), a discarded craft attempt that I pursued during my time at the Sámi Education Center in 2007-2009. It returned to me in 2016, but now I saw it as a readymade. Which thus, like Duchamp’s pissoir, could be put to a different end and take up a new position. An abdomen then became visible, where previously there was a nahppi. And I began to think about a figure whose context had disappeared and who had lost his place on earth. Although the nahppi figure sat tired, helplessly staring at nothing, he nonetheless pointed to the landscape I now find myself in. And now he leans comfortably towards a garbage can with one foot resting on a head made of glass. As a kind of monument to a lost place and a lost context.

The work process of Olof Marsja generates ambiguous and hybrid figures, made up of body parts, readymades, and processed materials and objects, reworking their own landscapes of desire and meaning where boundaries and stable identities are constantly dissolved. The sculptures put forth a world that has grown out of the feeling of belonging neither here nor there. In fact, the characters of the sculptural figures take on roles and positions beyond the artist’s capacities or abilities. These are unruly bodies with diverse anatomies, embodying a variety of stories and experiences. Indeed, the work of Olof Marsja is an infinitely humorous and deadly serious exploration of identity and ways of being, in the past, the present, and the future.

A projection shows a diptych of images on a gallery wall. At left, the rock wall of a mine, with a building rising above it in the right corner. At right, a yellow cabin with green lawn, and trees and mountains in the background.
Norrakollektivet, A place’s disappearance (installation view) (2021). COURTESY HAVREMAGASINET.

A place’s disappearance — 2021

The Aitik mine outside of Gällivare is one of the worlds largest open pit copper mines. Since 2016, members of the artist collective Norrakollektivet have spent their summers in Sakajärvi, a small village within the mine’s area of expansion. The village is currently being emptied as the mine is expanding. From this viewpoint, the artists have studied the growth of the mine and its effect on the surrounding villages and landscape.

With this spot as their base, they try to grasp the eternal beauty of the landscape and the immensity of the industry. Over the generations, people tending pastures and land have slowly created paths and memories, together with the old forests standing for eons of nature’s own time. On the other hand we have the mine, whose own metabolism means constantly ongoing growth, continuous expansion at a rate that leaves no time for reflection. That which was once seen as eternal is quickly becoming a scarred memory.Soon, the forests and paths will no longer remain. Where can memory take root when all fixed points are gone?

A place’s disappearance aims to be documentation of the very dismantling of the village, of the environment—and to understand and capture the movement that dismantling means to people, to nature, to the trees, the paths and the animals; to the lake that will soon be emptied of its water, and to the horse paddocks soon to be wiped out.

A grouping of 16 copper sculptures displayed on the floor of the installation. The contour of each flat copper piece resembles a cross-cut of a tree.
Norrakollektivet, A place’s disappearance (installation view) (2021). COURTESY HAVREMAGASINET.

A place’s disappearance is also the title of the video that was installed in the inner room at Havremagasinet. It follows the process of accelerating mine expansion and a new kind of nature conservation project, moving trees. In an attempt to mitigate the consequences, experiments are underway to move old logs, dead wood, from the mine’s expansion area, to save their rich communities of microorganisms. The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU, conducts research and collects insects in the dead wood. The dead logs are depicted in copper sculptures, their annual growth rings having been wiped away leaving them as blank reflectors outside of time.

In the smaller room, the video installation Using Landscapes was shown as part of the exhibition at Havremagasinet. The video seeks its way around the mine and examines where the boundary between industry and nature runs. Using landscapes at the rim of the huge open pit, the film collects voices and images to understand the size of the mine and the complexity of the site.

Artist Biographies

Jette Andersen is an artist and architect, born in Odense, Denmark. Since 1976, she has lived and worked in Luleå, Sweden. She studied at the Kungliga Akademiska Arkitektskolan in Copenhagen (1969-1975), and since then she has taken classes in croquis, aquarelle, installation and sculpture with various materials in focus. Andersen has exhibited widely and consistently in Northern Sweden, with exhibitions in Luleå Konsthall, Norrbottens Museum, Gallery Lindberg, Härnösand konsthall, Piteå Konsthall, Skellefteå konsthall, Gallery Krysset Lofoten, Havremagasinet and Konstgillet in Boden. 

Agneta Andersson is an artist based in Kiruna and Luleå in Northern Sweden. Nowadays her work consists of drawings and linocut. She studied art at The School of Design and Crafts in Gothenburg. She has previously worked with glass, metal, and textile. She is a member of the artist collective Koncentrat. In 2014 she participated in the international exhibition Kirunatopia that was displayed in Dresden and Umeå. She has also participated in the group exhibition Kiruna Forever (2020) at ArkDes in Stockholm. Since 2019, Andersson has worked as curator at Luleå Konsthall.

Victoria Andersson was born in Kiruna, now living in Luleå. She studied textiles at HDK–Valand Academy for Art and Design in Gothenburg. Victoria has had various solo and group exhibitions in Sweden and abroad. In her work, time and trees are returning thematics.

Sara Edström was born in 1968 in Luleå, Sweden, where she lives and works. She works primarily with sculpture in long processes, oscillating between the detailed studies of humans and abstracted sections of the body, skin and hair. To endure living in Norrbotten, Sara Edström was in 2006 co-founder of the artist-run space Galleri Syster in Luleå showing Swedish and international contemporary art. She and her colleagues lacked the art that interested them and felt that living in the geographic periphery, they had to create their own centre. Sara has done several public commissions in Norrbotten. Sara also has extensive experience in project management, such as from Luleå International Biennial and Havremagasinet Konsthall in Boden. After three years of studying art at Sunderbyns Folkhögskola 20 years ago, she has worked as an artist.

Carola Grahn (b. 1982) is of South Sámi descent, grew up in Jokkmokk, now lives and works in Malmö. She has an MFA from the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm in 2013 and she has also studied at Beckmans College of Design and Fotoskolan in Gamleby. Her work has recently been exhibited at Röda Sten Konsthall, Göteborg (2020), Onsite Gallery, OCADU, Toronto, Canada (2019), IAIA Museum Of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA), Santa Fe, USA (2019), Esker Foundation, Calgary, Canada (2019), Konstmuseet i Norr, Kiruna (2018), Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Montreal, Canada (2018), Konsthall C, Stockholm (2018), Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa, Canada (2018), Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, Brandon, Canada (2018), Nordic Matters, Southbank Centre, London, (2017), Kulturrådets årskonferans, Oslo (2017), Art Museum, University of Toronto, Canada (2017), Kunsthall Trondheim, (2017), Sámi Dáiddaguovddáš/Sami Center of Contemporary Art, Karasjok, Norge (2017) and h Office for Contemporary Art, Oslo (2017). Carola Grahn has received various grants and her work is represented in the collections of Public Art Agency, Sweden, Konstmuseet i Norr, Ájtte Museum of Sami Culture and the Mountain Region, as well as in the IASPIS archive. She has written about Sámi art for the journal Afterall and has been the editor of a special issue focusing on Sámi culture in Hjärnstorm. Carola, together with Silje Figenschou Thoresen, is the founder of the artist group Sámi Girl Gang.

Birgitta Linhart is an artist working with natural materials like stone, seeds, leaves, branches, and ice. Her choice of materials often follow the seasons.  She works mainly with large scale sculptures where site-specificity is of utmost importance, always aiming to create meeting places or portals between humans and nature. She has also worked extensively with environmental projects and land art workshops in villages and small communities in Norrbotten and Northern Finland, helping them to give, or find a visual form to their stories. Her substantial work in stone carving is mainly inspired by the perspective that it can withstand more than a thousand years. Linhart studied sculpture at Sunderby Art School (1994-1997). Since 1997 she has exhibited frequently in Northern Sweden and Finland. She has also produced more than twenty ice and snow commission projects in Sweden, Greenland, Latvia, Russia, Italy, Mexico and USA. She has participated in many group shows, like the Luleå Biennial (2020), and ART Biennial in Ii, Finland (2014). She lives and works in Luleå. 

Olof Marsja, born 1986 in Gällivare, lives and works in Gothenburg. Olof Marsja studied at Konstfack/University of Arts and Crafts in Stockholm. In 2019, he received the Maria Bonnier Dahlin foundation’s award. Olof Marsja is represented in the collections of  Konstnärsnämnden and the Maria Bonnier Dahlin foundation. Marsja has recently participated in exhibitions at  Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Galleri Steinsland-Berliner, Berlin, Galleri Box, Gothenburg, and Stenungsund Konsthall, Stenungsund.

Since 2016, Anja Örn, Fanny Carinasdotter and Tomas Örn have been collaborating under the name Norrakollektivet. Up to now, Norrakollektifet has concentrated its work on the projects that deal with the Aitik mine outside Gällivare. Parts of the work has been shown at the Moderna museet, Kunsthall Trondheim and in the Swedish Arts Council’s exhibition Brytningstider. Parts of the project has also been shown in 2020 in the exhibitions Kiruna Forever, which were shown in parallel at ArkDes, Stockholm and the Art Museum in the North, Kiruna and Human Nature at Sune Jonsson Center for Documentary Photography, Umeå.

Fanny Carinasdotter has an MA from the Umeå Academy of Fine Arts and has studied these questions in her artistic practice through works like Residuum (2018), Recompositions (2019), and Umedalen’s Former Hospital (2008). Carinasdotter uses photography to examine places created and abandoned by society to see what traces are left behind and what hidden unrealized futures are revealed within.

Anja Örn primarily works with sculptural and interpretive studies of places and investigations of ecological systems such as her work about the Lule river, Organismer and Grenverk. Anja Örn is also a founding member of Galleri Syster, a self-organized art gallery and meeting space for contemporary art in Luleå.

Tomas Örn‘s artistic practice circles around the meanings of places and the industrial nature of the northern parts of the world. He explores spaces in natural and urban landscapes and is interested in how spatial power structures are created and how they sometimes are challenged by subcultures and civil protests.


Credit: All texts in this article were originally published by Havremagasinet in association with recent exhibitions. Texts on Norrakollektivet and Birgitta Linhart were authored by the artists, while all others were authored by Havremagasinet Director, Mariangela Mendez Prencke. COURTESY HAVREMAGASINET. 

This story is part of the Sweden Spotlight. View more content from the Spotlight here.