Before we left for our Lofoten vacation, the boyfriend and I attended Kulturnatta - a cultural night in Tromsø with lots of activities and discounts for an entire Friday evening. We went to the old town hall to watch an improvision theatre piece when I noticed a sheet on the wall saying something about a new exhibition at Tromsø Museum. I showed it to the boyfriend and he was just like "oh yeah, I'm in that exhibition!".
Wait what? My boyfriend is in a museum exhibition? How did I miss that? Turns out, he was asked to be photographed for this exhibition two years ago at Riddu Riddu - an indigenous people's festival near Tromsø. In case you didn't know, the boyfriend is Sami (and I've invited him to write a guest post for you about him and Sami culture, coming soon!). He was wearing his traditional Sami costume at the festival which was one of the reasons he got photographed for the new exhibition.
Following Arctic Fashion, an exhibition about Arctic indigenous identity at Riddu Riddu Festival, was set up by photographer Mari Karlstad and folklorist Marit Anne Hauan. During 2000 and 2015, they visited Riddu Riddu Festival and took pictures of visitors.
The description of the exhibition reads:
"Europe's most important indigenous festival takes place on a grassy field in Manndalen in Kåfjord municipality. The festival is a happening and a place for the week that it lasts. And it has its own exquisite aesthetic. The festival aesthetic is created by the grass field, houses, hay racks, kiosks, Sami tents, longhouse, yurts etc. And by all the people! People come in their Sami costumes, trousers, summer costumes, shawls, earrings, reindeer skin shoes (kommager), sweaters, vests, and hooded capes (luhkka) and make the festival happen. With colors, quality, tailoring and design, Riddu is transformed into a special and colorful meeting place for identity, ethnicity, culture and hope."
- Text: Mari Karlstad and Marit Anne Hauan
Of course, we had to visit the exhibit! And of course I had the boyfriend pose with his former self!
The exhibition is part of Tromsø Museum but don't let that fool you - it does not take place at Tromsø Museum but at Polar Museum, the museum in the city centre that focusses on polar explorations. It will last until March so if you're visiting the city this winter or early spring, make sure to head down to Polar Museum and check out Following Arctic Fashion! It's free for students of the University of Tromsø and only costs 60 NOK for regular adults.
It's a really nice exhibit that captures Arctic indigenous cultures and their traditions really nicely, especially Sami culture. And I'm not just saying this because I'm an extremely proud girlfriend ;) Plus, what better place is there to learn more about Sami culture than Tromsø?
Would you like to learn more about Sami culture? What do you think of Arctic fashion?
(All photographs in the exhibit were taken by Mari Karlstad and Marit Anne Hauan)