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Authors:Sigrid Lien: Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies, University of Bergen, Norway
Hilde Nielssen: Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies, University of Bergen, Norway
Publication title:Conventional Ethnographic Display or Subversive Aesthetics? Historical Narratives of the Sami Museum, RiddoDuottarMuseat-Sámiid Vuorká-Dávvirat (RDM-SVD) in Karasjok, Norway
Conference:Great Narratives of the Past Traditions and Revisions in National Museums: Conference Proceedings from EuNaMus, European National Museums: Identity Politics, the Uses of the Past and the European Citizen, Paris 28 June – 1 July & 25–26 November 2011
Publication type: Abstract and Fulltext
Issue:078
Article No.:037
Abstract:The question of how and where Sámi culture is best represented is a debated issue in Norway. However, politically the problem has been “solved” through the establishment of Sámi museums, run by Sámi people and administered by the Sámi Assembly. The first Sámi museum in Norway was RiddoDuottarMuseat-Sámiid Vuorká-Dávvirat (RDM-SVD) in Karasjok. Sámi museums have, however, been subjected to considerable criticism. They have been accused for propagating ethnic reification and presenting a stereotypical and static image of Sámi culture and identity. The exhibitions are seen as replicas of conventional ethnographic displays, tending to represent Sámi culture as belonging to a traditional, pre-modern past, due to a lack of chronological narration and historical anchoring. Based on fieldwork at the RDM-SVD, this article presents an analysis of the exhibition practices that challenges such earlier readings. We argue that far from replicating the exhibition language of dominant western ethnography, the exhibitions can be seen as an effort to undermine the conceptions of time and history of the dominant society. Based on a study of the museum display as a total experience, our alternative reading suggests that the museum, by evoking a mythical landscape through aesthetic means, inscribes itself into a Sámi conception of time and space – a Sámi understanding of reality. Thus, we also address the debate concerning museums in non-western spaces, and the question of recognizing indigenous curatorial practices. Not least the art section leaves an impression of a museum space less marked by closure than earlier readings suggest. Here the museum opens up for articulations with the wider world, as Sámi contemporary art not only speaks from a position of a particular locality; it also communicates with the international art scene and incorporates visions and perspectives from a global or multiple world.
Language:English
Year:2012
No. of pages:17
Pages:599-616
Series:Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings
ISSN (print):1650-3686
ISSN (online):1650-3740
File:http://www.ep.liu.se/ecp/078/037/ecp12078037.pdf
Available:2012-10-30
Publisher:Linköping University Electronic Press, Linköpings universitet

REFERENCE TO THIS PAGE
Sigrid Lien, Hilde Nielssen (2012). Conventional Ethnographic Display or Subversive Aesthetics? Historical Narratives of the Sami Museum, RiddoDuottarMuseat-Sámiid Vuorká-Dávvirat (RDM-SVD) in Karasjok, Norway, Great Narratives of the Past Traditions and Revisions in National Museums: Conference Proceedings from EuNaMus, European National Museums: Identity Politics, the Uses of the Past and the European Citizen, Paris 28 June – 1 July & 25–26 November 2011 http://www.ep.liu.se/ecp_article/index.en.aspx?issue=078;article=037 (accessed 4/24/2014)