This exhibition features the hauntingly beautiful photographs by Fred Ivar Utsi Klemetsen, a Sami, the indigenous people of northern Scandinavia, photographer based in Norway.
Presented in partnership with the Norwegian Embassy and Harbourfront Centre’s Planet IndigenUS
“The Sami are the indigenous people of northern Scandinavia. Their language and culture is unique to the region. In Norway, the Sami number about 45,000. There are two main types of Sami – the nomadic people and the sea people. My mother belongs to a family of nomadic Sami who have herded reindeer on the northern mountain plains for centuries. My father belongs to the sea Sami, who lived off farming and fisheries.
“The nomadic Sami have traditionally moved throughout the region with their reindeer herds. They follow the reindeer across wide expanses of land in northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The reindeer has been essential to the survival of the Sami, who have lived in northern Scandinavia for thousands of years. Their culture is one of hardship, driven by the extreme survival skills needed to get through the long grueling winters on the arctic plains, where the temperature can dip below -50 degrees Fahrenheit. The reindeer has been absolutely essential to their existence, providing the Sami with food, clothing, shelter and tools.
“Today, only 1,500 Sami are still herding reindeer. Many have moved to different parts of the country, or lead ‘ordinary’ modern lives. As they abandon their traditional way of life, the Sami culture is also rapidly disappearing.” — Fred Ivar Utsi Klemetsen