top of page

Sámi Art - awakening the spirit connection

I went to visit the exhibition in St ives,Cornwall by Sámi visual artist Outi Pieski. Outi is an activist artist based in Ohcejohka (Utsjoki), Finland and this is her first large scale exhibition in the UK.

Her work combines the landscape she grew up in with the traditions of her people who are reindeer herders and guardians of the land.

I don’t tend to go to many art exhibitions, the last one I went to was a couple of years ago when there was an exhibition of aboriginal art whose message for me was a reminder of our connection with star beings. This exhibition just like the last felt like I was being guided to go and see it, I was not disappointed.

The paintings took me straight into the landscape as if I was truly experiencing it, not just through the eyes but through the spirit. Outi has been able to embody her paintings with the true spirit of place, the works come alive in a way that most landscape art just doesn’t.

But it shouldn’t come as a surprise, for her culture acknowledges the spirit of the land, the mountains, the water, the wild life and the people live closely amongst this landscape, interwoven with it. They see themselves as guardians of this land they inhabit and in turn the land looks after them, sustains them and protects them.

The Sámi traditional way of life is simple, uncluttered by modernity and all its trappings. Less is more, their chosen activities and handicrafts become meaningful in a way that our society in its addiction to convenience has lost. Outi continues this way of being through making her own acrylic paints that she uses for her paintings and recreating the crafts that connect her to her ancestors.

Her work also brings forth the issue of other agendas that are wanting to cover the Sami land with wind turbines and electric pylons. The Sami people don’t want this and they know that the land also does not want this, it would create trauma on many levels and disrespect the Sami people, traditions and the land spirits.

Mother Earth needs the indigenous people of all lands to show the way with how to honor her and live in harmony with her. Yet all around the world another agenda is playing out and removing these earth guardians and keepers from their homes and lands and ways of life, destroying them for industry and greed. Mother Earth is at the point where she has had enough and is sending us warnings that she could wipe us out in a blink of eye if we do not switch this agenda and get our priorities right.

Hopefully Outi’s work will link peoples hearts with the heart of the land, hearing its call for acknowledgment and respect as a living being. The more people who wake up to this and act upon it, the more chance we will have for the survival of humanity on this planet.

53 views1 comment

1 Comment

Brilliant summary of a great day out, thanks Charlotte, let's go again before its over in May...

bottom of page