Ollu lihkku, Hans Ragnar!
Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum is delighted to congratulate Keviselie/Elle Hansa/Hans Ragnar Mathisen who is today awarded the highest recognition in Norway - the St. Olav medal - and tomorrow receives an honorary doctorate at UiT University in Tromsø/Romsa!
Keviselie/Elle Hansa/Hans Ragnar Mathisen is a co-founder of the legendary 1970/80s Mázejoavvku (Sámi artist collective) and a pioneering Sámi voice in the context of creation, land and society. This recognition reflects Mathisen's decades of work as an artist and his tireless advocacy and guardianship for Indigenous world-views, rights and knowledge.
Our best wishes! Ollu lihkku! In the words of our director and head curator, Katya García-Antón:
"I cannot begin to express how well-deserved this recognition is. This day is exciting and memorable for Keviselie, and for the whole of Sápmi. His power as a thinker and creator, as an advocate for Indigenous people's sovereign thinking and knowledge, is the driver for his entire practice. From the first days his exquisite hand-drawn maps brought back Sámi names to the cartography of the north and redrew in them our relations to the world in terms of land, water, animals, plants, spirits and more than-human entities. In so doing he advocated for Sámi perspectives, for shared circumpolar Indigenous life, and revived colonially erased language; and in an act of absolute brilliance he converted into easily distributed posters for every household to have in their kitchen. His ongoing series of Sámi drums, have contributed to keeping spiritual knowledges alive and centered in daily life. One of his most moving works is called "Family", a symbol of his belief that all of Sápmi should stand together. He designed the ČSV logo (for the long-standing Sámi movement "Show your Sámi Spirit").
In his recognition today, I believe there are many of us allies, friends and accomplices of Indigenous perspectives, who all stand behind him to facilitate that the Sámi spirit remains alive and strong, a spirit that always has been and always will be."