Rovaniemi Art Museum

Jouni S. Laiti feat Kirsi Máret Paltto - Forest of the Sacred Trees

Traditional Sámi ways of life are set against very different contemporary values in the works of Sámi artist Jouni Samuel Laiti. Laiti is a master of Sámi handicraft tradition, and the aesthetic and methods of his art are based on duodji-tradition. The visiting artist of the exhibition, Kirsi Máret Paltto, in turn uses her art to examine the role of traditional Sámi ideology in the contemporary context. Laiti’s works discuss the feelings of insufficiency and rush caused by living in a modern industrial, fast-paced society. Laiti partakes in societal discussion with his art, highlighting the friction between nature and industrialisation. His works depict how the natural environment is being constrained by human activity. In his art Laiti also examines human emotions, like the need for intimacy. His approach is at times playful and humorous. Kirsi Máret Paltto channels the unspoken message of the duodji-tradition in a new way. In her art she depicts the traditional Sámi ideology and spirituality that is not seen in the everyday anymore. She also studies the themes of alienation, return and restoration – is it possible to restore that which has been lost? Both artists use the duodji-tradition and its methods in their work. The exhibition features artworks ranging from small sculptures to large installations. The main materials used include reindeer antler, burrs and wood. Laiti also uses industrial materials like iron, plastic and ceramics. In contrast, Paltto combines soft materials such as wool, fabric and leather in her art. Jouni S. Laiti (b. 1965) is an artist from Utsjoki who works and lives in Inari. In 2019, Laiti received a Master’s Degree in duodji (Sámi Handicraft and Applied Arts / Fine Art) from the Sámi University of Applied Sciences in Kautokeino, Norway. Laiti also teaches duodji at the Sámi Education Institute in Inari. Laiti has participated in numerous group exhibitions and his works have been featured for example at Mänttä Art Festival (2019) and the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma (2024). Laiti’s works are also part of the new, permanently displayed collection at the Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida. Kirsi Máret Paltto (b. 1974) hails from Fierranjoki in the Tana Valley, and she has lived and worked her adult life in Karasjok in Norway. Paltto has honed her skills in duodji in various courses and at home learning from her mother. Paltto received a cultural stipend for her duodji work in 2021 from the Karasjok municipality. She is also a writer and has made several publications. Paltto was awarded the Gollegiella Award for her multifaceted efforts in promoting the Sámi language. The exhibition has been supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Saami Council, the municipalities of Tromsø and Finnmark, the Finnish-Norwegian Foundation and the Finnish Heritage Agency.
Kulttuuritalo Korundi, Lapinkävijäntie 4, 96100 Rovaniemi