Mathias Danbolt and Joar Nango
Hanging out in Girjegumpi: A Conversation on Colonial Knowledge and Indigenous Practice.
This conversation takes its starting point in Sámi architect and artist Joar Nango’s ongoing project Girjegumpi (2018–), a mobile Sámi architectural library which addresses issues related to topicsincluding indigenous architecture, resistance, and decolonization. Mathias Danbolt, who is an art historian with special focus on the relationship between art and colonial histories in a Nordic context, have over the last years been researching early colonial images of Sámi architecture made by Danishmissionaries in the 18th century that Danbolt has found in Danish archives. This collective researchwas one of the central foundations of Nango’s recent installation Rákkas 1-4 (2020) which were made in collaboration with the Sámi duojar Katarina Spik Skum for Nango's large-scale exhibition Festspillutstillingen at Bergen Kunsthall in 2020. Rákkas is an architectural installation comprised of four tent-like textile sculptures, which borrow their form from the room dividers used in traditional Sámi nomadic dwellings to get privacy while keeping mosquitoes out. While Rákkas examines indigenous traditions for making and organizing space, the installation also engages directly with the history and legacy of Danish-Norwegian colonization of Sámi lands. Printed on the textiles used to make Nango's tents are images of Sámi customs and building practices made by and for the Danish missionary Knud Leem in the 1740s. The images were made as illustrations to Leem’s major book about the Sámi that was published in Copenhagen in 1767 financed by the Danish colonial administration and with support from king Frederik V. In this conversation Danbolt and Nango discuss the role that art and artists had in the production of colonial knowledges during the Danish-Norwegian empire in the 18th century, and how these colonial art practices can be taken up and used today in critical – and potentially decolonial – ways.
Biography Mathias Danbolt
Mathias Danbolt is an art historian and theorist 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” (2019-2021), 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, and member of The Young Academy, under The Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters.
See also what Mathias Danbolt lectured about at KHiO in 2020 https://khio.no/events/1198
Biography Joar Nango
Joar Nango is an artist and architect. He was trained at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology NTNU in Trondheim, Bergen School of Architecture (BAS) in Bergen and Weissensee Kunsthochschule in Berlin. He co-founded the architectural collective Felleskapsprosjektet å Fortette Byen (FFB), together with Eystein Talleraas and Håvard Arnhoff, in 2010, which was nominated by Norsk Form as Young Architects of the Year in 2012. Nango has exhibited extensively internationally, including at Documenta14 and Sakahan. He was the Festival Artist at Bergen Kunsthall in 2020. Nango lives and works in Tromsø.