Matti Aikio (FIN), 5/2016

Matti Aikio, born in 1980, comes from Vuotso, a small reindeer-herding Sámi village in northern Finland.

Matti Aikio, born in 1980, comes from Vuotso, a small reindeer-herding Sámi village in northern Finland. He earned a bachelor of arts from Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art in 2012. Aikio is a visual artist who works with photography and video as well as with installations, sound art and music. He has worked as a DJ since 2009. In his work, Aikio is interested in the concept of nomadism as a philosophy, culture and lifestyle. Along with his artistic practice, he is involved in nomadic reindeer herding, which his family has practiced for centuries. Aikio takes a keen interest in Sámi history, Sámi rights and political issues relating to the Sámi.

Aikio took part in Art Ii Biennale in 2016 with his sound installation, which depicted the present-day situation of the Sámi people in Finland. The story turned upside down the Sámi storytelling tradition by placing the story into the future. It is difficult to see historical changes as they unfold. It is only as time passes that we realise the significance of certain events. We need some distance to see the turning points in history. In this piece, Aikio went through the history of the Sámi people and did not avoid even absurd nuances when referring to the present eagerness of non-Sámi people in northern Finland to declare themselves Sámi. Aikio’s work had an intriguing ambivalence, combining poetic storytelling with political statements. The trees in the arts park might have been more willing than we were, listening to Aikio’s story as it flowed gently from megaphones into the wind. We chose Aikio as a participant in the Biennale because of his interest in Sámi history, rights and politics. Our decision was also influenced by his earlier art in which he studied the theme of reindeer herding and architectural structures. Aikio tells us stories about the modern Sámi through modern technologies and new media.

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