Moving the Needle

Glean 4, Summer 2024

Interview by Els Roelandt

Britta Marakatt-Labba

In mid-March, Els Roelandt met Sámi artist Britta Marakatt-Labba, just a few hours before the opening of the artist’s first major solo show at the recently (2022) established Nasjonalmuseet in Olso, Norway. Marakatt-Labba, now close to 73 years old, uses a needle and thread to create her universe. They discussed her activism, growing up in a family of reindeer herders, the impact of mining sites and wind farms on indigenous communities and the experience of gaining recognition as an artist later in life.

Marakatt-Labba gained overnight recognition after her participation in documenta 14 in 2017. Since then, she has travelled all over the world, exhibiting her art. She still works in the same studio in the north of Sweden, in Sápmi, on land that has traditionally belonged to the Sámi peoples, the indigenous people of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia, to whom she belongs. At the Nasjonalmuseet, she is exhibiting some very early sketches and drawings that have never been shown before, together (…)

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