When Shapes and Shadows Speak
Goh tjoevke jïh soejvene soptseste
Vad ljus och skugga berättar
The exhibition halls on the second floor
14.09.2023 – 15.10.2023
We have the pleasure of exhibiting Tomas Colbengtson's When Shapes and Shadows Speak / Goh tjoevke jïh soejvene soptseste. Through a Southern Sámi perspective, Colbengtson explores themes such as remembrance and colonial history on the Swedish side of Sápmi. He wants to shed light on personal and collective stories of governmental abuse of Indigenous peoples. The artworks deal with cultural oppression such as bans on Sámi languages, religion and reindeer herding. They deal, in particular, with the little-known historical event of the Swedish state's forced relocation of Sámi families from Northern Sámi to South Sámi areas in the 20th century.
Fragments from the depths of the past, such as memories from childhood, archival material or traces in nature are rediscovered and retold. Colbengtson works mainly with screen printing and glass as a medium and uses portraits and landscapes from old photographs in addition to text in Swedish and Southern Sámi as a starting point for processing - not just an artistic sense, but also therapeutic - and for conveying stories. He retrieves the photographs from both private collections and public archives that are related, among else, to racial biology research.
Colbengtson is known for his glass sculptures made with the cased glass technique where images are transferred using screen printing and are encapsulated in the glass. In addition, he exhibits a series of two-dimensional works where painting and photographs processed through rasterization are layered on both flat and bent glass- and metal sheets. The exhibition also shows several installations where light, shadow and mirroring tell stories of invisibility and alienation that constantly affects the individual, society and the culture.
Tomas Colbengtson (b. 1957, Tärnaby, Sweden) is a South Sámi visual artist with education from Konstfack (MFA), 1991. In the period 1998–2008 he was a resident artist at The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Colbengtson is the founder of the nomadic residency Sápmi Salasta – Sápmi embraces. He has had exhibitions both in Sápmi, Scandinavia and internationally. Since 2022 has he exhibited at Sámi Dáiddaguovddáš/Sami Center for Contemporary Art in Karasjok, Scandinavian House in New York, National Nordic Museum in Seattle, Enter ArtFair in Copenhagen, Galleri Helle in Stockholm, Museum Cerny in Bern, Switzerland, and Saemien Sijte in Snåsa, to name a few. His works have been purchased by, among others, the Sámi Parliament, Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, RiddoDuottarMuseat, KORO, the National Museum, H.M. Queen Sonja's art collection and The State Council for the Arts in Sweden.
The book Faamoe (2019) about Colbengtson's artistic practice is for sale in the gallery.
The exhibition has been created in collaboration with and with the support of Sámi Dáiddaguovddáš/ Sámi Center for contemporary art, Karasjok.