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Matti Aikio


Matti Aikio (b. 1980) is a Sámi artist with roots in reindeer herding. He graduated from the Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art with an MA in contemporary art in 2018. In his art, Aikio explores phenomena stemming from the intersection of modern Western society’s and indigenous culture’s – the Sámi culture’s in particular – worldview and relationship with space, time, and nature. He takes a keen interest in the conflict between the Sámi culture and the Nordic nation states’ use of natural resources. Aikio thinks that this conflict arises from their fundamentally different approaches to nature.

Aikio deals with these themes in his multichannel video installations combining moving image, sound, text, and photography. According to Aikio, modern society’s conflicting relationship with nature is also influencing phenomena such as climate change and the loss of biodiversity. In his works, Aikio has also focused on the Sámi truth and reconciliation process, questions of cultural appropriation, and a theme related to Sámi self-determination ­– appropriation of indigenous identity – which has been under hot debate in Finland.

For Helsinki Biennial 2023 Matti Aikio is working on a new multi-channel video installation that continues to explore the relationships between nation states, indigenous communities and the concept of Nature.

Suorranaddame, installation, HFT 2013, Hammerfest. Image courtesy of the artist.

Aikio’s works have recently been on display in the following exhibitions: Unfinished Histories, Botkyrka Konsthall, Stockholm (2022); Mäccmõš, maccâm, máhccan – The Homecoming, National Museum of Finland, Helsinki (2021–2022); and Nils-Aslak Valkeapää – Áillohaš, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo (2020–2021).

Aikio is one of the TBA21-Academy’s Ocean Fellows 2022 and the Sámi Fellow at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics 2022–2023.