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Biennale Arte 2022 and the Sami Languages

Biennale Arte 2022
59TH International Art Exhibition, Venice
"The Milk of Dreams"
23.04 - 27.11 2022

The Milk of Dreams exhibit showcases the work of over two hundred artists from 58 countries.

Out of these, more than 180 artists are participating in the Biennale for the first time.

For the first time in its 127-year history, the Biennale will be composed mainly of women and gender non-conforming artists.

This choice reflects the current global art scene, which is full of creativity and a deliberate rethinking of traditional power structures.

Cecilia Alemani is a curator who has organized many exhibitions of contemporary artists.

She is currently Director and Chief Curator of High Line Art, the programme of public art of the urban park in New York, and is the past curator of the Italian Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2017.

“As the first Italian woman to hold this position, I intend to give voice to artists to create unique projects that reflect their visions and our society”, Alemani has declared.

Three Sámi artists at the Venice Biennale

The Nordic Countries Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale of Art will be identified as the Sámi Pavilion.

Selected to carry out an ambitious project coordinated by OCA – Office for Contemporary Art Norway, artists Pauliina Feodoroff, Máret Ánne Sara and Anders Sunna, all three belonging to the Sámi community, will be interpreters of an artistic intervention that promises to be of epochal importance.

We discussed this with Katya Garcia-Ántón , curator of the Sámi Pavilion and historical director of OCA, recently appointed as the next director of the Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum in Tromsø.

The Nordic Countries Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale of Art will be identified as the Sámi Pavilion . Selected to carry out an ambitious project coordinated by OCA - Office for Contemporary Art Norway , artists Pauliina Feodoroff, Máret Ánne Sara and Anders Sunna, all three belonging to the Sámi community, will be interpreters of an artistic intervention that promises to be of epochal importance.
Nils Aslak Valkeapää, Untitled, 1991. Photo credit Susanne Hætta - Stiftelsen Lásságámmi
Source: https://www.artribune.com/dal-mondo/2022/01/reportage-scandinavia-sami-arte-cultura/

Sámi Languages

The Sámi/Saami Languages languages are Fenno-Ugrian languages spoken from central Sweden and Mid-Southern Norway to the tip of the Kola Peninsula in Russia by 25,000-35,000 speakers.

In terms of internal relationships, the Sámi languages are divided into two groups: western and eastern.

The number of ethnic Sámi is nearly 100,000.

According to Wikipedia, the written languages and sociolinguistic situation of the Sámi languages in Fennoscandia says that there are nine of them living in the present.

The largest six of the languages have independent literary languages; the three others have no written standard, and of them, there are only a few, mainly elderly, speakers left.

The ISO 639-2 code for all Sami languages without their own code is “smi”.

The seven written languages are:

  • Northern Sami (Norway, Sweden, Finland): With an estimated 15,000 speakers, this accounts for probably more than 75% of all Sami speakers in 2002.[citation needed] ISO 639-1/ISO 639-2: se/sme
  • Lule Sami (Norway, Sweden): The second largest group with an estimated 1,500 speakers.[citation needed] ISO 639-2: smj
  • Ume Sami (Norway, Sweden): ISO 639-2: smu
  • Southern Sami (Norway, Sweden): 500 speakers (estimated).[citation needed] ISO 639-2: sma
  • Inari Sami (Enare Sami) (Inari, Finland): 500 speakers (estimated).[citation needed] SIL code: LPI, ISO 639-2: smn
  • Skolt Sami (Näätämö and the Nellim-Keväjärvi districts, Inari municipality, Finland, also spoken in Russia, previously in Norway): 400 speakers (estimated).[citation needed] SIL code: LPK, ISO 639-2: sms
  • Kildin Sami (Kola Peninsula, Russia): 608 speakers in Murmansk Oblast, 179 in other Russian regions, although 1991 persons stated their Saami ethnicity (1769 of them live in Murmansk Oblast)[22] SIL code: LPD, ISO 639-3: sjd
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lenguas_sami.png

Sámi/Saami Languages languages are in danger of becoming extinct. Pite Sami has around 30-50 speakers, and a dictionary and an official orthography are in the works.

A descriptive grammar (Wilbur 2014) has been published.

Ume Sami likely has less than 20 speakers left, and Ter Sami is known to have only 10 speakers remaining.

The last speaker of Akkala Sami died in 2003, and Kemi Sami became extinct in the 19th century.

For an in-depth information about this language, here is a comprehensive resource – The Saami Languages: the present and the future.

For the Italian-speaking audience about Sámi Culture and the Biennale

Having been a fan of international activities, it’s unavoidable not to find a resource where I can read more content, in my native language.

So, I stumbled and recommending one for the Italian-speaking audience, with a very interesting content starting with 

UN VIAGGIO IN SCANDINAVIA SULLE TRACCE ARTISTICO-CULTURALI DELL’ANTICHISSIMO POPOLO SÁMI. TRA STORIA E PROSPETTIVE FUTURE.

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