Article in VK Kultur 20th of February 2016
100 MIGRATORY is part of the Swedish television documentary Åtta Årstider by Oskar Östergren the 22nd of December 2015. It is a program in which eight Sami artists talk about their art and their relationship to the eight Sami seasons.
SVT2 och SVT Play 22 Dec 2015 at 7.30 PM
SVT2 24 Dec 2015 at 10.25 AM
SVT2 27 Dec 2015 at 11.00 PM
I’m honoured to be part of this beautiful first film about 8 Sami artists / seasons, together with Carmen Olsson and Magnus Andersson. Thanks to Oskar Östergren!
Link to film here (scroll down in text on that page) and it is subtitled in English.
Have a look at the presentation I held at the opening day of Västerbotten @ Grand Hotel Stockholm (13 minutes – in Swedish). Some images and info about my work, 100 MIGRATORY & how it is to work world-wide as an artist from a remote mountain area of north Sweden – Tärnaby.
It’s not often I scream out loud, but this morning I got a strange surprise when I got to my studio. It was a dead squirrel on the floor in my office and the fact I almost walked on it before I saw it, made me scream like a young girl in a silly horror movie. I looked around and I could track the squirrel´s way around the workshop by all the shit left on the floor and in/on some glass. This poor little one had some humor though – leaving a rather large poo on an invoice from the phone company Telia…
It was test pieces of glass and a bought wineglass I use for test engraving, crushed on the floor. Other glass objects and vessles tipped over and it was shit even on som vertical glass pieces (how on Earth it got there). It looked like the squirrel had been everywhere in my studio except on the big table in the middle with all glass vessels belonging to 100 MIGRATORY. Some kind of other forces also made the little squirrel to take a loop around the reserved and sold vessels in the window and on another desk. And I can tell you – it’s magic no vessels of the hundered broke! In case one of them tipped over on the large table – it would be a domino effect and probably half of them would roll onto the concrete floor.
Magic is all I can say!
Rest in peace little squirrel and Thanks to whatever other forces which help my glass vessels to continue it’s path towards the exhibition next year.
PS. The squirrel must have sneeked into the studio last weekend when my husband helped me to lift in a new crate of Bullseye glass.
She walked towards the edge last night
in a room
locked and alarmed
I can still see the tracks
She drifted towards the edge and fell
she left a story
in her shattered pieces of glass
It is real now
this threat to our lives
this rape of our Earth
Please be aware
and understand this my friends
She is there now
amongst her people
Rocks and glass
sand soda lime
Glass is fragile
yet forever strong
if looked after
according to its needs
Like a human being
like our nature
Like the Sámi people
Vessel nr.36/100M in pieces at the exhibition Gállok Protest Art, Sámi Duodji, Jokkmokk the 18th of September 2013.
Photo: Jenni Laiti
Text på svenska:
vandrade hon mot kanten
i ett låst och larmat rum
Jag kan ännu se spåren
Hon gled mot kanten – hon föll
och kvar blev en berättelse
som ett tecken
i hennes skärvor av glas
Det är på riktigt nu
det här hotet mot livet
den här våldtäkten av vår Jord
Snälla, lyssna och förstå!
Hon är där nu
bland hennes vänner
Sten och glas
sand soda kalk
Glas är skört
samtidigt starkt i all evighet
om det tas omhand
för vad det egentligen är
Som en människa
som vår natur
Som det samiska folket
Du kärl Trettiosex
“I can tell you two different stories about why I moved to Prague – the boring one and the real one, even though the latter would not seem so real to many. I could say that I moved to find a better life, or a better job, or a better country… it is all true in a way but there are things way more subtle, things which may seem unimportant at the first sight but which, at the end of the day, really matter.
In Gustav Meyrink’s book ‘The Angel of the West Window’, a woman sees a city in her dreams, a magic city with high towers and beautiful bridges, a city which she immediately feels she belongs to. How surprised she is when, some years later, she is travelling to Prague and realizes – it IS the place she has seen in her dreams! Believe it or not – that exactly is what happened to me, long before I discovered this book. I first came to Prague as a tourist in 2008 and my heart immediately recognized the place I had been dreaming about for a long time. On the train back home my heart was tearing apart, being separated from its newly found love – Prague. I came back again and again, and finally, in 2011, I packed all my stuff in one suitcase and booked a one-way flight ticket. It has been 2,5 years now that we are together. I found out that Prague has a heavy personality and is moody a lot. I still cannot figure it out. This city is like a beautiful sophisticated woman you cannot ever get bored with. These walls and stones were here centuries before I was born, they will be here centuries after I am gone. Our lives are not more significant than that of a firefly – and I am thankful that mine got to shine, even for a little while, on these beautiful streets.”
Evgenia, born in Russia, resident in Prague since 2011, freelance software tester.
“Sometimes new acquaintances, upon finding out about my “mixed-European” origin, wonder: ‘What even brought you to Prague?’ All I can say is ‘An accident’. My entire life path until arriving here had been quite spontaneous, full of coincidences and adventure, so the decision of moving to Prague came almost ‘out of the blue’, no kidding! By then I had spent my childhood and adolescence in four different countries, so the idea of trying out another one was nothing intimidating, but rather already natural. As a fresh high school graduate, living separately from the family, I luckily had the freedom to decide where to start my university studies and a career, and this country in the middle of Europe, which was therefore equally close to any trip destination in Europe, gifted with a stunningly rich cultural and historic heritage, with an interesting language and peaceful, friendly people, eventually got to the top of my wish list. I want to emphasize that this choice was one of the best decisions of my entire life. At the moment I feel at home – more than anywhere else before or after moving to Prague. My professional and personal lives are strongly bound to this place, and the beauty of Prague is something that can impress me eternally, each time like the first time: It is the sensation of having freshly fallen in love, which never passes.”
Ari, born in Russia and raised in Finland, resident in Prague since 2007. Founder, CEO, translator, interpreter and copywriter at OWL languages. Technical support specialist for an antivirus IT company.
Both photos by Alef Prazsky at the Tribo Fuego fire show, Petrin Hill, Prague
These stories are part of vessel no. 52/100M’s journey to the Embassy of Sweden in Prague Czech Republic 2012/2013. Many thanks to Rolf Ericsson.
Unexpected feelings yesterday of sadness mixed with pride when I saw images of vessel no. 36/100M demonstrating in its own peaceful way against a society without any respect of people and nature. The vessel is made out of glass. Fragile but at the same time forever strong if looked after according to its needs. Like a human being, like our nature, like the Sami people – like glass.
There are many issues talking against a mine at Gállok in the middle of Sábme Samiland, north Sweden, an area close to the World Heritage Site Laponia. The original cause is the fact that the Swedish state continues giving away the land and nature of our country and future generations to shortsighted foreign prospectors that will profit at the expense of the indigenous Sami people, local people and the nature.
I want to discuss one of the issues not so often raised in the debate: it is about the human and personal aspect of the effects of mining in an area used and looked after by the Sami people. We have no ancient photos, old written parchments or previous rock house foundations to prove that we have been here generation after generation. That is because we have looked after our nature, taken care of her and made sure to work in harmony with her without leaving traces behind. That is respect.
Yet, we own a treasure hidden in the mountains and in the hardly seen paths winding through the forest. The treasure is our stories, the verbal histories from the past and from today. The land, the streams, the mountains and that specific rock carry all the stories of my past and with the stories I learn about my history, about how to act in specific situations, how to look at life in general – it’s a cultural heritage woven into the story by the land.
The stories of the past create a feeling of home, a core in life, and a deep connection with previous generations. When I walk the same path my great grandmother walked while I listen to her story of that specific mountain or rock, told by my grandmother, I get a feeling of belonging. Me – today, is part of yesterday. I belong. We belong. And by understanding this I can also look forward with enjoyment and see the future; a future where my children walk the same path as my great grandmother.
I think too many people in our society have lost that natural connection with the past, they can’t see where they come from. They search for identity and meaning and somewhere to belong. If they don’t find it they might make their own artificial world with their own ‘right and wrongs’. That can be fatal.
Please, don’t cut that path of mine and destroy our nature with your large machines, and please don’t stop that river flow. You tear open our souls to nothing then and you get lost people, a lost land and you take away the pride of giving a beautiful world and a meaningful life to future generations.
Erina Rhöse (Maori from New Zealand) said yesterday at Gállok: “You have to hide yourself Mother Earth. You have to hide your treasures and make them invisible for them. You have to make the ore invisible and useless for them. Hide yourself, hide.”
Read more about the different issues of mining in Gállok area close to Jokkmokk in The Detroit News, The Washington Post, London Mining network and at the webpage What local people or sign the petition Stop Mining in Jokkmokk. And consider this is only one out of many areas in Sweden interesting for future mining.
You tube related links Gállok by Maxida Märak, Kråkan by Jörgen Stenberg, The Mountain by Maxida Märak & Downhill Bluegrass Band or Gállok by Niillas Holmberg & Roope Mäenpää feat. Ánne Mággá Wigelius. Or listen to Sofia Jannok´s speech at TEDxGateway 2012 Our Rights to Earth and Freedom.
The local TV news Provmalmen körs från Kallak from the demonstrations yesterday with vessel no.36
All photos by Jenni Laiti.
Today it is two years ago since the terror attacks that affected the nation of Norway as well as the whole world. I don’t want to write the name of the man who killed those 77 persons that day, as he is not worth remembering by name.
But please, never forget the 69 young victims after the shooting at Utøya or the 8 killed by the bomb planted outside the government buildings in Oslo on the 22nd of July 2011 . Talk about them, sing their songs and remember their names so they keep living in the hearts of their families and in the rest of the world. I like what the Prime Minister of Norway said in a speech today – “We must never give up our values in the face of terrorism. The answer to violence is more openness, more democracy, but never naivety.”
Link here to Euronews and the speech of Norway´s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg today.
I don’think there is an easy answer of how to avoid this to happen again but I know we all need a warm secure home and heart somewhere, a place where we belong and where we feel love, friendship, respect and warmth. Those homes and hearts look different and mine is within the Sami. We need to help each other to find that home; glowing embers spread around in this world and fed by empathy and with respect of human rights. Help each other to include, not exclude. Persons without that heart, without identity, tend to make up there own world with rules and regulations – they make their own “right and wrong” – and THAT is dangerous for our society and world. Did the man that killed two years ago in Norway have a warm secure home and heart as a child and adolescent, filled with a feeling of belonging, love and empathy? I doubt it…
Yet, it is important to sometimes let go from that secure environment. People, who have spent all their lives within their secure home and heart, sometimes become antagonists and meet a different behaviour, culture or language with suspicion and even hate instead of with curiosity.
I have taken my 100 vessels of glass into their home and heart, into the Ulldevis Mountains in northwest Sweden. Then they have been on a “walkabout” to other countries and cultures, near and far.
Have a look at this short info film of 3:30 minutes. It is a story about the Sami people, our history and culture – narrated in a wonderful personal way by screenwriter Åsa Simma. You can also get a glimpse from my studio and when I cut glass to pull canes – which is one part of the working process to make the 100 MIGRATORY glass vessels. Glass with blue rim is no. 66/100M but I’m not 100% sure of the other one…
The film was made as a collaboration between Umeå2014, Kreator, Lampray and Åsa Simma.
Kabul Afghanistan. I ask each embassy and caretaker of a vessel to take minimum three photos of the vessel in exchange for the “loan” of it for up to half a year. One image where the vessel is displayed most of the time, the second one in the hands of a local and the last image in an environment so you can see the photo is not taken in Tärnaby Sweden.
The message from the Swedish embassy in Kabul Afghanistan:
The security situation is restricting us to move outside the embassy so all images of the vessel are from within the embassy area.
This is also part of the journey, part of the story. And Afghanistan is not the only country with those restrictions. We are allowed to have a Swedish embassy within a country as long as we stay within our “own sphere” and take care of issues relating to our own country. But watch out if we try to talk too loud about human rights and democracy. Like vessel no. 40/100M that was reserved for Belarus – but suddenly (in August 2012) there was no Swedish embassy left in Minsk. Let’s hope we at least get a Swedish diplomat there soon.
Anyway, the 19th of April 2013 it was the first screening of the Swedish documentary film “No Burqas behind bars – Frihet bakom galler” by Maryam Ebrahimi. The film takes viewers inside one of the worlds most restricted environments: an Afghan prison for women. They live there together in a mini-society, often feeling safer than they did on the outside. Most of them are there because of moral crimes and they have been sentenced to years in prison because they ran away from home, fleeing from their adulterous and abusive husbands. So, for them, more freedom and happiness behind bars and safety within walls.
All part of the world.
PS. In May 2013 we have the election for the Sami Parliament here in Sweden and sometimes I can´t help myself from finding similarities “as long as we stay within our own sphere”… The Sami Parliament is controlled by the Swedish Parliament and the Government through laws, ordinances and appropriation decisions. A mandate to make decisions within frames made by others.
Last week I got glass vessel no. 73 back from Per Jannok living in Charlestown, Boston Massachusetts USA. Yesterday at least three people have been killed and more than 100 injured in two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
This makes me just so sad, it makes me angry and it makes me wonder what this world of ours is on about. How come a child can be beaten and bullied at school for three years (article in todays local paper from a school in Umeå)? How come conflicts of landrights and such are allowed to continue through generation after generation? How come someone want to kill people they don’t even know, and sometimes even themselves, just to get their message through?
What is this world of ours on about?
I do what I can in my own little sphere. I send my vessels around the world to hopefully light a sparkle of curiosity of us living in the north and the Sami people. Curiosity, in contrast to fear, often result in broader knowledge and understanding. The vessels are made out of glass. Forever strong if looked after according to its needs – yet, fragile and gone in a split of a second if not taken care of. Like a human being. Like an ancient culture. Like the nature on our planet earth.
PS. Per is fine. He was there in the city but just walked to the metro at the time of the bombing.
On the 14th of January I will participate in the opening day, with presentations and dinner at Västerbottensdagarna Grand Hotel Stockholm. You can find me in the showroom and see images from the art project 100 MIGRATORY.
Glass vessel no.53/100M is on display in the showroom during this day – the same vessel you can see above in this beautiful image by Carl-Johan Utsi located close to Sijddojávrre lake in February 2012.
There is a special story surrounding vessel no. 53/100M.
After blowing and annealing the vessels in the kiln I coldwork the surface of the glass by grinding it with diamond wheels. I do this to make the surface more light absorbant instead of reflective. Some might think I’m mad to spend so much time on each of these 100 vessels as I start with a 100 grit wheel, followed by a 360 wheel and finally polish with a 600 diamond cutting wheel. For me it is essential for the final impression of the work. However, four of the hundered vessels have a reflective, not wheelcut, surface.
Anyway, while wheelcutting no. 53/100M I discovered a separation crack on the inside that I had not seen while hotworking and blowing the vessel. I felt just so dissapointed – yet another vessel I couldn’t use. Then I started to think about the project as a whole and about the vessel of glass that represents us as human beings. Some of us can have ‘cracks’ on the inside that are not visable from the outside. Cracks that don’t effect the overall impression and lifespan, if healed / annealed properly, yet it’s always there…
So, this vessel no.53 is just as important and part of the project as any of the other vessels.
“Twenty children and six adults died when a gunman rampaged through a primary school in Newtown, Connecticut USA, firing a semi-automatic rifle before killing himself” wrote BBC today.
I just feel so sad about this and left with lots of questions. How come this can happen on our beautiful planet Tellus in the year of 2012? On a planet where we work out guts off to discover cures to cancer, prevent global warming and encourage research on mental illness? And within a blink – all those lives we save by our “clever society” is killed by a desperate 20-year old.
Ok, the gun laws of the US could be changed to the better – but will that be enough to prevent another desperate killing in the future? I don’t think the major problem is that easy to solve as long as we don’t dare to look at ourselves as part of human beings, Homo sapiens, together living on this earth named Tellus. Each one of us unique and with different identities. Yet, part of a larger context .
How can we prevent these disasters to happen again?
I do what I can…
Not often I link to a YouTube clip, however this one I can´t resist sharing with you
Vessel no. 37 has arrived to the Swedish Embassy in Nigeria and information about the project – as the text below – is to be found in their Newsletter_Nigeria
artproject 100 MIGRATORY
100 MIGRATORY – an extensive, both local and world-wide art project initiated by Monica L Edmondson – explores issues such as identity, origin, allegiance and migration. A hundred glass vessels, all individually made by the artist herself, depart on a journey, starting in the vast, winter-white mountains of Sápmi – Sameland in the north of Sweden. From there the vessels migrate on their journeys to different countries, environments and cultures.
The forms of glass vessels – used as a metaphor for ourselves – stress the importance of a secure warm nucleus in the life of every individual. At the same time 100 MIGRATORY emphasise the value of venturing out of original security in order to gain understanding and respect for others.
The Swedish Embassy in Nigeria has received one of these vessels of glass, part of 100 MIGRATORY, to exhibit for half a year. The vessel is meant to initiate curiosity about the form and the use of glass as a material, about worldwide indigenous issues including our own Sámi heritage as well as issues about democracy and human rights.
100 MIGRATORY will be exhibited in the Museum of Västerbotten in Umeå Sweden during the European Capital of Culture year of 2014. All hundred glass vessels as well as images and stories from their respective journeys will be part of the art installation. The dancer and choreographer Carmen Olsson will also create a performance in response to the project.
Vessel no.40 and the Swedish ambassador is staying at home…
I got a mail from the Swedish embassy in Minsk Belarus and they wrote that they have to refrain from taking part in this interesting art project due to a number of circumstances. We all know Lukashenko expelled the Swedish ambassador in Belarus in the beginning of August and Sweden’s diplomats can no longer stay in the country. The fear of human rights by Lukashenko reaches new heights, wrote the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt on Twitter shortly after. It is countries like Belarus that really should take part of the story and work of 100 MIGRATORY so I feel sorry this glass vessel no. 40/100M, intended for Belarus, has to stay at home in Sweden. Just like the Swedish ambassador of Belarus…
However, I am happy the embassy in Russia will take care of a vessel, even if the Swedish embassy in Moscow is a closed area for the public.
So 24 Swedish embassies are going to receive a vessel of glass part of 100 MIGRATORY within the next few months – as a loan for up to half a year. Photos from the different countries and embassies will later be part of the final exhibition January – May 2014 at the museum of Västerbotten in Umeå Sweden. Several private persons will also be part of the art project, as a “caretaker” of a vessel each.
Today I have no. 70 in the Netherlands, no.17 in Norway, no. 41 in Switzerland, no.14 in Spain, no. 56 leaving for Iceland and no. 88 for China. And I’m home in Tärnaby with vessel no.40.
I just love this image from the small island Tikopia at Solomon Islands! So much happening also behind and beside Geoffrey Roto and Jennifer Fisari with vessel no. 16.
For the swedish speaking readers, the hundred vessels and what they stand for are part of a discussion by Sara Meidell in todays paper
“När snö och kyla bestämmer livsvillkoren”
Finally the moment is here. The hundred vessels are packed and ready to take off on their first journey, starting at their “home” in the mountains of Uldevis, north of the Arctic Circle Sweden. Three snowmobiles, boxes, trailers, cameras, firewood, food for a week, warm clothes, a generator for charging batteries, sleeping bags etc etc. Leaving from Tärnaby in 1½ day from now and I have only packed the glass…help!!!
I have two top photographers, Carl-Johan Utsi Jokkmokk and Micke Rutberg Umeå, with me. Carl-Johan is going to work with the vessels in the space and in the snow – to try to capture the moments I want to express in this project 100 MIGRATORY. The need of a warm secure core, a fire, in this vast winter white space and world. Micke will document the work of me and Carl-Johan with the vessels. Images that will be part of a journal theMuseum of Västerbotten publish in the beginning of 2014.
Thanks to Sirges sameby that let us use the Biesnes hut for this project. Much appreciated!
To be continued…