It’s an underground cave party! Young people dance to escape the angst of world destruction, summoning the aid of the forgotten Sámi earth deities Uksáhkká, Juoksáhkká and Sáráhkká. The mother-daughter relationship between Birit & Katja Haarla and Outi Pieski chimes aptly with the theme of their first joint artistic collaboration.
Outi Pieski (b. 1973) lives and works in Ohcejohka (Utsjoki) and Numminen, Finland, and has been exhibiting internationally for over two decades. Her works address the Sámi people’s history, indigenous rights, and their relationship with nature and mobility, sustainability and co-existences. She collaborates with environmental activists, researchers, as well as Sámi women employing traditional handicraft techniques. Her paintings and photography depict elements from landscapes and include forms, colours, references, or objects from the Sámi culture, including shawls and ládjogahpir hats. These extend to her large-scale installations, in which she invites viewers to enter, participate and come together.
Birit Haarla and Katja Haarla (b. 2000) are Sámi dancers from Utsjoki. They graduated as professional dancers from the Ballet School of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet in 2019 and are currently studying contemporary dance and choreography at the P.A.R.T.S – Performing Arts Research and Training Studios in Brussels. Birit and Katja Haarla have performed in and choreographed Marja Helander’s award-winning short film Eatnanvuloš lottit (Birds in the Earth, 2018) and Autonomiija áiggis (The Age of Autonomy), a theatre piece by Pauliina Feodoroff, Maryan Abdulkarim and S. Nousiainen staged as part of the Baltic Circle threatre festival in 2017.
Guhte gullá / Here to hear, 2021
It’s an underground cave party! Young people dance to escape the angst of world destruction, summoning the aid of the forgotten Sámi earth deities Uksáhkká, Juksáhkká and Sáráhkká. We are losing our connection with the earth and our ancestors who rest beneath the soil. It is time for us to reconnect with the sacredness deep within the earth.
In their work Guhte gullá / Here to hear, women of different generations listen to the voices of their foremothers through dance and duodji, traditional Sámi handicrafts. The mother-daughter relationship between Outi Pieski and Birit and Katja Haarla chimes aptly with the theme of their first joint artistic collaboration. The space is filled with Tuomo Puranen’s ritual-beating electronic music and Mari Boine’s yoik, which invites us to change and pay attention to the foremothers’ message.
The work is supported by The Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation.
Photo 1: Matti Pyykkö/Helsinki Biennial 2021
Birit & Katja Haarla, Outi Pieski
Guhte gullá / Here to hear
Multi-channel video installation
Direction: Birit & Katja Haarla, Outi Pieski
Cinematography: Mauri Lähdesmäki
Coreography: Birit & Katja Haarla
Performers: Birit & Katja Haarla
Music: Mari Boine & Tuomo Puranen
Editing: Mauri Lähdesmäki
Sound design: Pekka Aikio
Costume design: Auri Lukkarinen, Outi Pieski
Thank you: Teuri Haarla, P.A.R.T.S – Performing Arts Research and Training Studios, Angel Films.
Commissioned by HAM/Helsinki Biennial 2021