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Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, “Dálle beaivi orui min luhtte / Da solen bode hos oss”, ink on paper, 1974.
Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, “Dálle beaivi orui min luhtte / Da solen bode hos oss”, ink on paper, 1974.

Critical tools: Mathias Danbolt / The Art of Nordic Colonialism

Colonialism has until recently been a topic which have rarely been discussed in relation to Norwegian art history. In a Norwegian context, colonialism has instead been understood as something that happened “elsewhere” in time or space.

Hence, colonialism has often been associated with the histories of colonial empires such as the British, French or the Dutch, with more relevance to historians or anthropologists working with ethnographic materials than art historians working on material pertaining Norway. In this lecture I seek to complicate the tradition of colonial ignorance in Norwegian art history by arguing for the importance of the concepts of colonialism and coloniality to discussions on art and art history in a Nordic context. With specific focus on the unfinished history of the colonization of Sápmi, this lecture analyzes artists who took active part in the Danish-Norwegian imperialist projects in Sápmi from the 17th century and onwards, as well as how Sámi artists have used aesthetic practices in resistance to the changing colonial systems up until today.

Mathias Danbolt is an art historian working on politics of history and historiography in contemporary art and performance, with a special focus on queer, feminist, and decolonial perspectives on art and culture. He is currently leading the collective research project “The Art of Nordic Colonialism: Writing Transcultural Art Histories” (2019-2022), supported by Carlsberg Foundation, which examines the effects and affects of Nordic colonialism within the field of art. Danbolt is an Associate Professor of Art History at University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Register through this Zoom link to participate

The talk will be moderated by Associate Professor Lisa Rosendahl. 

Danbolt’s lecture marks the start of the Critical Tools seminar series organized by the Fine Art Academy at KHiO. Critical Tools invites artists, theorists, curators and other practitioners to share the tools they find most critical for navigating art and society at this present moment. 

The next speaker as part of the series will be art historian Kerstin Stakemeier, talking about the history and present uses of the term ‘artistic freedom’ at 6pm on 20 January 2021.