The Sápmi Series
2015 – 2016

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About the series

text by
Pauline Benthede,
curator Fotografiska

Interruptions portrays several generations of women from Swedish Sápmi. Stretching over the northern parts of Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula in Russia, Sápmi occupies an area almost the size of Sweden. The manner in which the Sámi people of Sweden have been treated since the 16th century when the Swedish state began colonising the north is a dark chapter in the country’s history. Colonisation does not only affect geographic areas – fundamental characteristics of a people such as its culture, language and traditions are also dismantled and eradicated. 

In common with Cooper & Gorfer’s other series, clothes and objects of symbolic significance play an important role in Interruptions. The eponymous protagonist of the portrait Ingá Elisa with Reconstructed Dress has a map of the treasures of Malmberget woven into her garments. Katarina in Katarina in Blue raises her hand in which she has written the word Fábmo, Lule Sámi for “power” or “strength”. Around her little finger a red thread winds itself down into her clothes, as straight as artificial borders drawn with a ruler. 

Like fragments of historical and present time, the multifaceted human being is also interwoven in Cooper & Gorfer’s work. Many of the portrayed women bear their own stories of illness, conflicts or other individual hardships.

Venues Below: Strandverkets Konsthall, 2018 / Fotografiska, 2017 / Konstmuseet i Norr, 2016

Selected works