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Press Release

Explore What It Means to be Unbounded at ASI this February

Arctic Highways, Mygration, and New Family Gallery Experience, Nature Story, open February 3, featuring Indigenous art from Sápmi and North America
November 7, 2023 By Darby Johnson

MINNEAPOLIS—The American Swedish Institute museum and cultural center will open three new cultural experiences this February of art and handcraft by Indigenous contemporary artists from Sápmi and North America. Opening February 3 – May 26, 2024, these Indigenous curated experiences invite viewers to explore and share in the experience of what it means to be unbounded, both geographically and in spirit. Featured Sámi and local artists from the exhibitions will be present during the opening weekend.  

Arctic Highways features work by 12 Indigenous contemporary artists from Sápmi and North America and with the full exhibition displayed at ASI. These artists share the powerful and relatively unseen world of Arctic art and duodji Sámi handcraft through a diverse range of mediums, including handcraft, photography, sculpture, print, moving images, and textiles. They share their own stories and what it means to be unbounded—not just for Indigenous People, but for all of us. A special touring exhibition, Arctic Highways comes to Minneapolis following stops at Swedish American Museum, Scandinavia House, and the National Nordic Museum.  

Alongside Arctic Highways, visitors will explore Mygration an immersive, large-scale installation of drawing and print by Sámi artist Tomas Colbengtson and Swedish artist Stina Folkebrant, presented in collaboration with All My Relations Arts, a Midwest hub for contemporary Native art located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This exhibition’s collaborative piece reflects and explores issues of migration, herd mentality, time, and forgotten past. Colbengtson selected and printed archival photos of Sámi immigrants of Alaska, which are paired with Folkebrant’s massive, large-scale paintings of the eight seasons of Sápmi, illustrating the Sámi concept of time and the life of the reindeer. 

Following a few months of closure, ASI’s Family Gallery will reopen this February as a play-based interactive space for children designed in collaboration with fifth-grade students from Hope Academy in Minneapolis and featuring murals by artist Stina Folkebrant, whose work appears in Mygration. The experience, titled Nature Story, is aimed at helping children engage with and playfully explore the wonders of Minnesota’s natural world within a museum setting. 

“These timely and important exhibitions offer a chance to explore exceptional art and craft from across the circumpolar north,” said Ingrid Nyholm-Lange, director of Experience. “We invite you to visit ASI and explore what it means to be unbounded for these artists, and for all of us.” 

Join ASI for First Look: Arctic Highways, a special exhibition preview event on Friday, February 2. Guests will enjoy a panel discussion and conversation featuring Tomas Colbengtson, Stina Folkebrant, members of All My Relations Arts, and artists featured in the Artic Highways exhibition. Keith Bedeau and his Spirit Boy Drum Group will perform.  

In addition to the first look, there will be artist talks with the visiting Arctic Highways artists for an exploration of the exhibition through the eyes of its creators on Saturday, February 3, and Sunday, February 4. These artists will share stories about their work and their artistic methods and will bring participants into the gallery for a closer look at their pieces. 

To mark Sámi National Day and celebrate the opening of Arctic Highways, ASI will host a special screening of “Stitches for Sápmi” on Tuesday, February 6. Arctic Highways artist Britta Marakatt-Labba has for decades depicted the indigenous Samí people’s mythology, relation to nature, and political struggle. Now she is facing one last fight; the battle for her culture against the threats of climate change.  

Presented in association with the Walker Art Center, the remarkable trio of Nordic artists, Avant Joik, will make their U.S. debut at the Walker on Saturday, March 16, 2024, at 8 p.m. Combining traditional Sami extended vocal technique with experimental electronic soundscapes, the music from Indigenous Sami singer Katrina Barruk (vocals/joik) and veteran experimentalist Maja Ratkje (vocals/electronic) are paired with live visuals by Sami artist Matti Aikio to create a transporting experience that evokes contemplative atmospheres of the North and the untamed, forceful nature that lurks beneath. Additional programming will be announced closer to the exhibition opening.  

Arctic Highways Digital Press Kit. 

Regular hours for the museum, FIKA Café, and the Museum Store are 10 am to 8 pm on Thursdays, and 10 am to 4 pm on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Beginning November 14, 2023, ASI will be open 10 am–4 pm Tuesdays in addition to open hours Thursday–Sunday.   

General admission, which offers access to all exhibitions on view, as well as the historic Turnblad Mansion. For the most up to date admission prices, please visit the hour & admissions page. Walk-up museum admission is available. Visitors are also welcome to register for museum admission in advance. Special events have individual pricing, see the ASI Events online for details.