Arctic, Beauty, Culture, Finnmark, Genealogy, Heritage, Indigenous, People, Photography, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Uralic

Family portraits from 138 years ago

Ellen
Johan
Brita & Anne Berit
Johannes
Mikkel

Wanted to share these amazing old family portraits from our Nilsen/Kitti/Tornensis/Kemi/Hætta/Nango family tree 😊🎄 Taken in 1882. Exactly 110 years before I was born 😄 This is one of the many reasons I love photography 🙌🏻 Colourised by Per Ivar Somby recently. (Not the best quality because I took with my phone).

Area these names come from/are native to: Kautokeino, Karasjok, Øksfjord/botn (Loppa/Alta), Kittilä and Kemi. Probably more areas.

Anthropology, Arctic, Awareness, Culture, Genealogy, Heritage, Indigenous, List, Outfit, People, Photography, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Uralic

Endangered and extinct: Sámi languages today

Photo coloured by Per Ivar Somby. In the photo: Brita Somby, wearing traditional dress (gakti) with traditional wool shawl.


The nine remaining Sámi languages are spoken in the north of Europe (see map and gallery below) in a cross-border region which includes Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. This region is generally called Sápmi – mostly by sámis, and is sometimes referred to as Lapland. Laponia in swedish Lapland is the World’s largest unmodified UNESCO nature area still cultured by natives.

Sámi languages speakers estimate:

Southern Sámi 300 – 500 speakers

Ume Sámi – less than 20 speakers

Lule Sámi 2 000 – 3 000 speakers

Pite Sámi – less than 20 speakers

Northern Sámi – 20-30 000 speakers. There are three main North Sámi dialects.
Northern Sámi is the most accessible language, both in terms of literature, news broadcasts, and other material for those who want to learn a Sámi language as a foreign language.*

Kemi Sámi  extinct

Inari Sámi 300 – 500 speakers

Akkala Sámi – considered mostly extinct since 2003*

Kildin Sámi 300 – 700 speakers

Skolt Sámi 300 – 500 speakers in Finland, fewer than 20 speakers in Russia

Ter Sámi – less than 5 speakers left, all elderly

Out of the 11 historically attested Sámi languages, 9 are still spoken/used.

Today there are around 90 000 Sámis, but as you can see from the numbers they do not match up to speakers of Sámi languages. Roughly 4/10 Sámis speak and use Sámi today.

Why is this so?

To avoid humiliation and to give their children “better chances in life”, indigenous and minority parents often decide to speak a dominant or official language with their children. Sámi parents have not been an exception to this rule, especially in the very near past.

For the sake of how long this post would be in order to include all four countries’ history with the Sámi people, I will mainly focus on Norway.

Title: Samiske barn undervises i norsk / Sámi children learning norwegian
Opphaver: Fotograf Sverre A. Børretzen
Rettighetshaver: Leverandør NTB scanpix


Up to the 17th century, Sámi society lived pretty much its own life, with little interference from the outside. But with the new borders of the Nordic countries, interference was inevitable. Historically, the language situation can be divided into three distinct periods: a missionary phase; a harsh assimilation phase; and the present phase, with potential for integration and revitalisation.

The 17th and 18th centuries characterise the beginning of missionary activities, with some very positive projects for the benefit of the Sámi languages: teaching was conducted through the medium of Sámi and religious texts were translated into Sámi. From the middle of the 19th century however, a new policy based on national romanticism and ‘vulgar Darwinist ideas’ led to a harsh suppression of Sámi and the languages. The Norwegian Parliament and government pursued overtly a policy aiming at assimilating the whole Sámi population in Norway in the course of one generation.

The “dark century,” 1870 to 1970 ca, had detrimental effects which can still be felt on both the languages themselves and on their status and speakers. In the coastal areas of Norway (and elsewhere), negative attitudes were transmitted by the Sámi themselves as a result of the policies, and inter-generational transfer of the language ceased in only a few generations.

Approx distribution of the languages/dialects today. The biggest blue area is mainly Troms and Finnmark.

New efforts in maintaining the languages were revived in the 1970s and still continues to this day. However, one of the most striking failures of the Sámi strategies is that the smaller Sámi languages (in numbers of speakers as listed above) have not seen success in improving their situation or even in defending their previous position. This failure is partly due to the fact that most speakers live apart from the larger Sámi groups. Dispersed among Norwegians, Swedes, Finns, and Russians, they do not have the demographic concentration that would enable them to use their language in the workplace and in official situations, including schools.

A language’s development, aging, and dying was considered “natural,” out of human reach. Languages were not killed, they “died of old age.” This agentless “model” for the prediction of the future of languages is still found among politicians, and legitimates their way of treating minority languages.

In Norway, many municipalities with a Sámi population had developed procedures to give the Sámi some local linguistic rights. Yet, when the Sámi language law (in force since 1992) designated certain areas as belonging to the Sámi administrative districts, many of the municipalities left outside these official districts – often municipalities where the speakers of the smaller Sámi languages lived – withdrew services in Sámi, claiming that the law did not require them. Even today, there is strong resilience towards using official Sámi names in for example Norwegian towns and municipalities.

Sámi name for Bodø not welcome, 2011.

*Currently, education, official documents and the media use Northern Sámi almost exclusively. This variant is used as a de facto “official language” and the most significant efforts have gone into the development of this particular language, to the detriment of other Sámi languages.

Opinions also differ on whether the different versions of Sámi are actual languages or dialects, and how to designate their speakers. “The Song of the Sámi Family” is the official Sámi anthem. To demonstrate the differences among the Sámi languages, here is how the Sámi anthem titles look in Northern Sámi: “Sámi Soga Lávlla,” in Inari Sámi: “Säämi suuvâ laavlâ,” and in Skolt Sámi: “Sää´msooǥǥ laull.” In Finnish, the title would be the somewhat similar; “Saamen suvun laulu.”

Sápmi flag by artist Astrid Båhl from Skibotn, Troms. Photo: Ørjan Bertelsen


Most Sámis today speak either Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, or even English as their everyday tongue (some migrated to the USA). Many are bilingual as well. Another factor is that some Sámis do not identify as Sámi or even know that they are due to the assimilation in the past. They do not have any relationship with the language(s).

**Akkala Sámi is the most endangered Eastern Sámi language. On December 29, 2003, Maria Sergina – the last remaining fluent native speaker of Akkala Sámi – died. However, as of 2011 there were at least two people, both aged 70, with some minor knowledge of Akkala Sámi.

Unlike the Indo-European languages spoken in most of Europe, the Sámi languages belong to the Uralic language family, and are most closely related to the Baltic-Finnic branch, which includes Finnish, Hungarian and Estonian, although opinions vary as to the closeness of the relationship.
Photo I took at the main square in Tromsø 2019. Demonstration against violence and discrimination towards sámi.

Sámi women and a man in Sweden. Colourised photo by Per Ivar Somby.
Many young Sámis today use the traditional handwoven wool shawl as an everyday garment in a more urban way in order to still show our Sámi identity, and belonging. I think it’s a small yet beautiful act. Wool shawls like this are however sold commercially many places as well. (Photo by NatGeo of Jokkmokk Sámi Ella-Li Spik, herder).

Norway, Sweden and Finland was in 2019 urged by the UN to increase public funding of Sámi parliaments as a response to the dire state of the disappearing languages. But even if the situation seems dire for many languages, it is still possible to revitalise them and start using them more often. Which languages survive and which do not ultimately seems to be a question of human will, not of any rules of nature.

I know that languages and cultures come and go, but I do feel it a great loss to lose what has been native for Sápmi and Lapland for literally thousands of years, in only a few generations, when it can be perserved. I am happy that some schools and institutions are giving sámi language courses to anyone who wishes to learn it (although this is mostly in Northern sámi), and I do also secretly wish that my children will learn it, which I never did due to the Norwegianization process in Finnmark. Language is a huge part of culture and when it’s taken away, people get confused about their own community and sense of belonging, and even turn on each other as a result of feeling alienated.

Me keeping warm and optimistic about the future of the languages and culture.



Thanks for reading! xx


Sources and texts used in this post:

https://site.uit.no/sagastallamin/

http://www.sorosoro.org/en/sami-languages/#:~:text=Yes.,beginning%20of%20the%2021st%20century.

https://blogs.loc.gov/international-collections/2019/12/will-the-sami-languages-disappear/

https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/saami-languages-present-and-future

Arctic, Culture, DIY, Everyday life, Food, Health, Heritage, Indigenous, Knitting, Outfit, People, Photography, Pregnancy, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi

Vinterbaby, part 2

Gleder meg ihjel til å kle mini-me’en i de gamle klærne ho bestemor laga til oss da vi var små ❤ Mine gamle lobber i grå og blå.
Fikk et nydelig marinoullpledd fra mamma og søster. Samt andre babyting med dyretema fra venninner 🙌🏻 Selen kjøpte jeg helt ærlig til meg selv 😅 Kjempemyk og søt!
Kan brukes som pute og sofapynt 😄 Kan hende beiben får låne den 😉
Viktig å spille litt musikk for han 😁🎧
Har også brukt en del tid på å se gjennom gamle baby -og barnebilder av meg selv og min barndom. Det er kanskje sånn som skjer automatisk når man er gravid 😄❄ Blir nok ikke å legge ut noen bilder offentlig av podden, men gøy å dele tiden fram til han kommer ☺
Ble overraska av de beste jentene jeg vet om med babyshower 💎 Helt fantastisk.. de greide til og med å lure meg! En av de desidert største høydepunktene i 2020. Tusen takk! Tenk å ha slike venner.
De hadde til og med laga bleiekake – helt selv fra scratch. Med lamabamse 🤩
Må også dele bilde fra noen uker siden da jeg fant ut at antrekket mitt ligna litt for mye på en viss kar 🙄
Min største gravid-craving så langt 🥝
Ikke så mange uker igjen nå, syns ukene og månedene har gått ekstremt fort. Kommer til å savne å se ut som mummitrollet 😛
Arctic, Culture, Everyday life, Indigenous, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Spirituality

Arktos

The Sámi sun symbol, or Sámi sun-deity (Beaivi), is associated with the fertility of plants and animals. 🐝🌿🌞🌏 (pic from 2013)

The sun is going below the horizon for two months in not many weeks and Polar night begins. I actually like the Polar night. Maybe I am just used to it growing up here or there is something nostalgic about it but there is a paradoxal warmth and safety in this dark period and snowy blanket that covers everything. Every winter you can see especially two constallations in the night sky. Little Bear and Big Bear. I remember being a kid, dressing up in my warmest clothes and shoes, go outside and completely incase my little self in compressed snow as tightly as possible and stare at the constallations for hours. It’s said that the Arctic is named after the greek word for bear, Arktos. Maybe there is a connection there.

Anthropology, Arctic, Awareness, Culture, Genealogy, Indigenous, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Uralic

Ancient DNA shows the Sámi and Finns share identical Siberian genes

“The first study on the DNA of the ancient inhabitants of Finland has been published, with results indicating that an abundance of genes reached Finland all the way from Siberia.

This article I am sharing is from phys.org

The genetic samples compared in the study were collected from human bones found in a 3,500-year-old burial place in the Kola Peninsula and the 1,500-year-old lake burial site at Levänluhta in South Ostrobothnia, Finland. All of the samples contained identical Siberian genes.

Siberian origin remains perceptible

The ancient DNA has also been compared to modern populations. Siberian origins are still visible in the Sámi, Finns and other populations of the Finno-Ugric language family.

“However, it has been mixed up with the European genome. Of all European populations, modern Sámi are the most evident representatives of the Siberian genome. As for the title of the modern people with the largest Siberian genetic component, that privilege goes to the Nganasan people living in northern Siberia,” says Päivi Onkamo, head of the SUGRIGE project at the Universities of Helsinki and Turku.

The project succeeded in mapping out the entire genome from the bones of eleven individuals. From the Kola Peninsula, the bones of six individuals were collected from a 3,500-year-old burial place, while those of two individuals were found from another location dating back to the 18th and 19th century. In the case of the bones found in the Levänluhta site in South Ostrobothnia, the entire genome was mapped for three individuals.”

You can go to HERE to read the full article.

These findings are very interesting to me, as I am very much into geneaology and learning about my family history. Different cultures and people fascinate me in general, and although this is just trivial information, it does shed light on why we look so different from other Europeans, for example.

Some other uralic/finno-ugric peoples with same roots and ties to Siberian regions are the Nenets (previously called the Samoyeds), the Khanty people, the Mansi and the Mari.

Are you into geneaology and/or anthropology? What is your favourite subject? 🙏🏼

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Things that are yours to keep

Sámi headdress by me, shawl hand-me-down. Photo by Sebastian Wilches 2020.

Some things I truly believe are yours to keep, that no one can take from you:

Your spiritual practice. In my case, it is vajrayana buddhism. It has saved my life in many ways – both in dealing with chronic illness, but also the normal existential stuff like finding purpose and joy 🙂🙏🏼📿

Your ambitions and dreams (if they come from a place of pure motivation and love). In my case now, it has been starting a little family with children 💜🤱

Your ethnicity and ancestry, no matter how lost or scattered it is in this modern world. In my case from my personal experience, I feel very connected to my home in the Arctic and being uralic/finno-ugric (sámi). I didn’t as a kid and teenager, at all, but now as I am older, I feel like I can “own” it more. I don’t speak any of the uralic languages, and feel a sadness about this. A disconnection from my own culture. And a feeling of not belonging to a community, when they can’t speak to me. I hope my son will not feel as disconnected. But I have found other ways to express this – primarily through art and duodji. Not all languages are of verbal nature, but are equally important, I think. 🎨

Your creativity. Not necessarily arts, but anything you find a solution to that involves stepping out of the habitual intellectual mind and into a state of spontaneity and flow.🌊

Your struggles. This sounds negative, but for me I mean that my struggles are valid. I have a body that has its big share of physical problems, and I don’t mean to whine. At all! 🙂 Just to express that this is my reality, and that chronic (perhaps invisible to others) illness can happen to anyone, any time in life.💙

Your love. This one sounds cheesy but I think we all can feel love and that we have love as a basic human need. To receive it and give it. And we all have different ways of showing it. I like giving gifts for example.. but am not so good verbally expressing how I feel. I like receiving kind loving deeds, but not to be smothered. So understanding how we show it differently is important too. I also believe that as humans we have the capacity to love many at the same time. Whether it is friends or partners, plural. Romantic, familial or platonic.❤

Anthropology, Arctic, Culture, Everyday life, Indigenous, Landscape, People

DNA test updated

Logged into my FamilyTreeDNA profile today and discovered that the percentage and accuracy has been updated! There was unknown percentages and no mention for example of slavic DNA last time, so I guess they are always evolving in accuracy🙏🏼 Wonder how it will look in a year or so!

Edit: Commersial DNA tests are not that accurate, this is more like an estimate.

‘Finland’ also contains other Uralic/finno-ugric subgroups like kven and sámi, which is my family tree mostly. Surprised about the Slavic though 😀
Map of origins
Map of origins

Have you ever done a DNA test? What did you find and how did it affect your view?🌍

Arctic, Beauty, Culture, Everyday life, Hair, Indigenous, Make-Up, Outfit, People, Photography, Photoshoot, Uncategorized, Vajrayana

No need to try to fit in

Photography by NS Photography (true.earth.lover on Instagram)🇵🇱🇳🇴📸

You don’t need to be vegetarian or vegan to be buddhist. I am not. Tantric buddhists have historically not been either.

You don’t need to be able to handle cold well or have any knowledge about reindeers to be sámi. I don’t. The old ways of life are changing, and only around 10% are herders today.

You don’t need to be eccentric to be a painter. I am not. I just like making art.

You don’t need to be good at maths or into technology to be autistic. I am not. In fact, I am so terrible at math I got extra tutoring.

You don’t need to have “everything in order” before becoming a parent. I don’t. Who does?

You don’t need to be scared to call yourself disabled if you have a chronic illness which limits you. It’s not a bad word, it’s just an explanation of your lived reality.

I am all these things and labels, but just mostly myself ❤ Or at least trying to be most of the time.

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Gold hidden in its matrix

“You might ask, ‟If I have Buddha nature, why can’t I perceive it right now?”
It is because, like gold hidden in its matrix, that nature is hidden by our habits that we have accumulated since beginningless time. These habits have been created by our disturbing emotions and then reinforced by the actions that those disturbances have produced.”

~ Shechen Gyaltsab
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Changing, changing..

Portrait by my partner with my new camera 😊
45 x 55 painting, acrylic on canvas. Sold 🙂
Sun symbol painted on my denim vest 🌿 Sápmi flag sewn on my bag 🌸

Did you know only around 30% of the whole sámi population speaks/write one of the sámi languages today? The longlasting banning of the languages caused identity crisis for many, but I am happy it is changing slowly 🐢 I feel proud to be part of the generation that is reviving our own culture, with not only language but art, clothing and music too 💚

Arctic, Beauty, Culture, DIY, Hair, Indigenous, Outfit, Photography, Photoshoot, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Sewing

Feeling most like myself

Always feel the most beautiful in my own handmade clothing and/or traditional clothing. Sámi hat and skirt made by me 🙂
Photos by Sebastian Wilches, edit by me.
Not sure what I am doing with my hands, I never know how to hold them…(:
Photo and edit by Sebastian Wilches (@wilchesfotografia)
Kofte and wool hat made by me
Mittens by my ‘mother-in-law’ Kristin (@dachsedilla)
Photo by Sebastian Wilches, edit by me.
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2019 in pictures

The sun returning in January in Bukta on Tromsø island
People greeting the sun
Was in Tamokdalen to help with a photo project. Beautiful crispy day
I made my first sámi silk shawl, in gorgeous yellow/gold
And a pair of ankle wraps. Hand vowen
…Kali liked them too!
Got one new tattoo this year 🙂 Painting in the background made for my bff
Met the cutest puppy!
Look at that face…🧡
Frozen raindrops outside my window
My best friend got married in Brooklyn. Unreal and beautiful. First time in the US for me ☺
Heidrun and me. Prettiest bride 🌻
Me in my handmade coast kofte. What a day 💚💛❤
In Central Park
Time’s square
Me being a total tourist ✌
Time’s Square again. It was colourful and overwhelming 🙃🌈
New York subway
Kvaløya, beautiful as always
Whale watching.. the sky was so pink that day
Orcas
Train ride in Oslo
Little cloud
Kim Katami and me on retreat 🧘‍♀️ New Years eve 2018/2019
Wales
My lovely friend and sangha sister, Elizabeth from Louisiana. We were in Birmingham
Retreat girls
Ice skating on this lake that made the coolest sounds
Kvaløya
Kvaløya, cold day on the beach. Around 15°c
Midnight sun 🌅 Håja mountain
Gained healthy weight this year 🙌
Did a giveaway on my facebook art page with this painting, got so good feedback, made me happy 🙂
Made more of these small cute paintings
Spain. I got very tan 🙃💛
Was two days in France. Didn’t get too explore too much because of time, money and energy, but saw this lovely garden in Toulouse
And met Blueberry the donkey!
Tromsø catethedral
Autumn was very pretty, as usual 🍁
Got my hair cut at a salon for the first time in 2,5 years😍
Paviljongen in Tromsø
Autumn day in Tromsø
Loke
Anti racism event at the town square, as a response to recent violence against indigenous people
My favourite painting from this year. Inspired by the Arctic polar night
Went to quite a lot of museums and exhibitions this year
Found this cool and weird coat on flea market
Was butt naked in a commercial 😅
Made an X-files painting for a friend 🛸

I have sooo many more pictures from this year, but some of them I feel are nice to keep private 😊💛

Happy new year, everyone!✨

Awareness, Culture, DIY, Everyday life, Outfit, Pets, Photography, Sewing

Pride-parade 2019

Gruppebilde utenfor Kongsbakken vgs før vi begynte å gå.
Hva bedre å ha på seg til anledningen enn det antrekket jeg føler meg stoltest av og finest i 💃
har helt glemt å legge ut bilde av kofta mi på bloggen før, og hele syprosessen, men dette er altså min håndlagde kofte (som ennå ikke er helt ferdig, hysj🤓)
En veldig fargerik Katharina 🏳️‍🌈
I paraden.
Fikk meg en ny venn i paraden! @gullvinge på insta 😊
Imponerende kostymer..❄
😍
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My top 10 favourite painters

Before even starting this list, I know this is going to be a long post. I will not be able to choose just one artwork by each artist, and I want to write what exactly it is about their work which speaks to me and inspires me. Just googling and looking through their work and studying their techniques instantly sparks motivation and awe in me.

Here are the artists:

Nicholas Roerich
Thomas Cole
K. Hokusai
John Savio
Eva Harr
Robert Gonsalves
Theodor Kittelsen
The Brothers Hildebrandt
Phil Couture

Let’s begin!

Nicholas Roerich

The list is sort of random, except for the one on top. Nicholas Roerich’s artworks are truly some of the best I’ve seen, not only in style and composition but also in the message they convey: often spiritual, mystical and religious themes combined with amazing landscapes and colour combinations.

Short trivia: Roerich (1874-1947) was a Russian painter, philospher and archeaologist. Founder of Agni Yoga or Living Ethics/Teaching of Life with his wife, Helena. He did a five year long ‘expedition’ to Asia, which in his own words were: “from Sikkim through Punjab, Kashmir, Ladakh, the Karakoram Mountains, Khotan, Kashgar, Qara Shar, Urumchi, Irtysh, the Altai Mountains, the Oyrot region of Mongolia, the Central Gobi, Kansu, Tsaidam, and Tibet”, which immensely influenced his works.

During his life, he lived both in Russia, Finland, England, India and USA.

Besides the recognition as one of the greatest Russian painters, Roerich’s most notable achievement during his lifetime was the Roerich Pact (the Treaty on the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historic Monuments) signed April 1935 by the representatives of American states in the Oval Office of the White House. It was the first international treaty signed in the Oval Office.

There is a museum in New York displaying 150 of his works- which I would love to visit 🙂

Fun fact: The minor planet 4426 Roerich in the Solar System was named in honor of Nicholas Roerich.

Here are some of his best works, in my opinion (Sources: Google and the Roerich museum website)

703492
“On the heights, (Tummo)”, 1936 – As a breathing exercise, tummo (Candali in Sanskrit) is a part of tantric practice. Tummo literally means “brave female” in Tibetan.
aj
(Could not find the title for these, but I find them lovely)
milarepa-the-one-who-harkened-1925
“Milarepa – the one who harkened”, 1925 – the first painting I saw of Roerich and fell in love with.
Roerich_Panteleimon
“St. Panteleimon the Healer”, 1916
700111
(Could not find the title for this one either)
11bc22fa332e870de9ebeeb3027760d1
“Padmasambhava”, 1924 – I particularly like this one because of the colours, but also how Padmasambhava sort of sits leaning over a little mountain top looking over the meditating monk in a caring way, probably giving him some blessing, transmission or terma. I would love to have this on my wall.

Thomas Cole

As you can probably guess, my favourite kind of art is landscapes; mountains and rivers, skies and horizons. Thomas Cole’s work is very realistic and typical for the romantic era, but also carries a sort of spiritual vibe to them as he often implemented celestial beings such as angels. He is exceptionally good at perspective and composition, as you can see in the works below – and the details are amazing.

Short trivia: Thomas Cole (1801-1811) was born in England, but moved to the United states when he was 17 with his family. He is known for his amazing landscape paintings of the American wilderness, and was mostly self taught, studying other artists’ work and reading books.

In 1842, Cole embarked on a grand tour of Europe in an effort to study in the style of the Old Masters and to paint its scenery. Most striking to Cole was Europe’s tallest active volcano, Mount Etna. Cole was so moved by the volcano’s beauty that he produced several sketches and at least six paintings of it.

Fun fact: The fourth highest peak in the Catskills (where he and his wife lived) is named Thomas Cole Mountain in his honor.

I struggled choosing a limited amount of Cole’s paintings because he has so many good ones. I chose four of the absolute best ones, in my opinion, where the two first ones are part of a four series of paintings called The Ages of Life.

(Sources: google and Wikipedia)

“Childhood”
“Youth”
“Prometheus Bound” – 1847. One of Cole’s largest oil paintings. 
In the painting, Prometheus is chained to a rock on Mount Caucasus in Scythia. Zeus has punished him for endowing humans with life, knowledge, and specifically for giving humans fire.
Could not find the title for this, but I like it because it looks like a scene from the Tolkien universe.

Amid those scenes of solitude… the mind is cast into the contemplation of eternal things.

Thomas cole

Katsushika Hokusai

I love Japanese art. Although kind of typical Japanese in style, Hokusai still has his own expression, and I like the use of so many colours. He also has a lot of movement in his works, making them come alive. Just look at that wave 🙂

Short trivia: Hokusai (approx. 1760-1849), was a Japanese painter and woodblock print maker.

Hokusai had a long career, but he produced most of his important work after age 60. His most popular work is the ukiyo-e series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which was created between 1826 and 1833. It consists of 46 prints.

Hokusai was never in one place for long. He found cleaning distasteful, and instead, he allowed dirt and grime to build up in his studio until the place became unbearable and then simply moved out. The artist changed residences over 90 times throughout his life.

During a Tokyo festival in 1804, he created a portrait of the Buddhist priest Daruma said to be 600 feet (180 m) long using a broom and buckets full of ink. Another story places him in the court of the Shogun Iyenari, invited there to compete with another artist who practiced more traditional brush stroke painting. Hokusai’s painting, created in front of the Shogun, consisted of painting a blue curve on paper, then chasing a chicken across it whose feet had been dipped in red paint. He described the painting to the Shogun as a landscape showing the Tatsuta River with red maple leaves floating in it, winning the competition.

The artist also had difficulty settling on a single moniker. Although changing one’s name was customary among Japanese artists at this time, Hokusai took the practice even further with a new artist name roughly each decade. Together with his numerous informal pseudonyms, the printmaker claimed more than 30 names in total (!)

His tombstone bears his final name, Gakyo Rojin Manji, which translates to “Old Man Mad about Painting.”

Fun fact: Claude Monet acquired 23 of the Japanese artist’s prints.

(Sources: katsushikahokusai.org, artsy.net, google and wikipedia)

“Great wave off Kanawaga” – 1832
“Hokusai”
For anyone who likes Hayao Miyazaki‘s movies, I think maybe some of his creatures were inspired by this woodblock print.
“Sarumaru daiyu” – 1835

“Shore of Tago Bay, Ejiri at Tokaido” – 1842
“Inume pass in Kai Province”
In Japanese woodblock printing, the use of Prussian blue – a synthetic pigment imported from Europe – is very common. My favourite shade of blue 🙂 

John Savio

The only Sámi artist on my list, and the best one 🙂 I snuck him on there despite him not mainly being a painter, but also doing lithography. This summer, I went to see his original artworks at the Savio museum in Kirkenes, my mother’s hometown. Most of his art has arctic inspired themes; reindeers, the Sámi peoples way of life, and the wilderness (vidda).

Short trivia: John Andreas Savio (1902-1938) from Bugøyfjord, was the first sámi artist to get his own exhibition at the National Gallery (Norway). He also exhibited some of his works in Paris in 1937. 

Savio grew up as an orphan and died at age 36.

Picture I took of one of his paintings at the Savio museum in Kirkenes.
“Summer” – Lithography of a Sámi man in lotus posture
“Boy and girl” – One of his most famous works, at the Saviomuseum
“Man with reindeer ox”
A painting by Savio. The inscriptioin on the frame is in German, and is thought to have been owned by the Nazis during the war. In 2005, this painting was donated in the mail to the Savio museum from a woman in Germany. Savio rarely put dates on his art.

Eva Harr

I was lucky enough to visit Eva Harr’s gallery in Reine, Lofoten this autumn, and got to see her original works up close. Her style is realistic combined with a fiction-like feeling; it could be a real place she has painted, but it could also be a made-up dreamy landscape. She’s good at combining elements, such as rocks, and I like how she is able to make many of her paintings look hazy.

Short trivia: Harr (1951) is a Norwegian painter, born in Harstad. She has her own gallery as mentioned, and many of her works are displayed in other museums around Norway. Her own words about her art: 


“Jeg har en meditativ holdning til mitt arbeide, der naturens syklus alltid står i fokus. Døgnets ulike stemninger, lyset og mørket, nattens begynnelse og slutt – og ikke minst månen med sin mektige symbolikk og innvirkning på våre liv. Symbolene jeg finner i naturen er ofte universelle og sterkt ladet. Dette velger jeg å utforske og fordype meg i. Mitt landskap er et indre landskap, og er metafor på mine indre reiser. Jeg vil speile naturen, og dens viktige plass i våre liv. Jeg blir berørt av dette uforutsigbare som preger vår tid, uro og støy som truer vår natur. Dette preger mitt blikk, og er underliggende i mitt valg av motiv. Samtidig ser jeg klart at lysets skiftninger og landskapet i nord, er en veldig viktig inspirasjonskilde.”

from her own website, evaharr.no

Some of her amazing works (Sources: google and her website)

“Erindring” (Recollection)
“Brev hjem” (Letter home)
“Mot blått” (Towards blue)
“Over jorden” (Above the earth)

Rob Gonsalves

Four years ago, I came across one of Gonsalves’ paintings (the first one below) and it reminded me of a meditation experience I had had. So I checked out more of his works, and found so many more that I liked. Style: surrealism (or magic realism) and optical illusions.

Short trivia: Rob Gonsalves (1959-2017), also known as The Master of illusion, was a architect and painter from Ontario, Canada. His works were very much influenced by other surrealist artists, such as Dalí and Escher. He also published several books containing his works. Sadly, Gonsalves took his own life last year. Check out this webpage if you want to see more of his mindbending artworks.

(Sources: wikipedia and google)

“The phenomenon of floating”
“White blanket”.
I think there is something very cozy and safe about this painting. I love the snow, and have many times thought what it would be like if the snow was warm – like a bed.
“Nocturnal skating”
“Union of Sea and Sky” – Acrylic on Canvas. This painting reminds me of a poster I had in my room growing up, of dolphins and other sea animals underwater.

Theodor Kittelsen

One of the most famous and beloved artists in Norway. You have probably seen his works even if you don’t know it. His art reminds me of childhood, as he made illustrations to many of the big Norwegian fairytales, lores and legends. I wish I had more of Kittelsen’s art, but I have been so fortunate to get my hands on five vintage porcelain plates (for hanging on the wall) with his drawings on them, and one giclée print of “White Bear King Valemon”.

Short trivia: Theodor Severin Kittelsen (1857-1914) was a Norwegian illustrator and painter born in Kragerø. He has also written and published several poems. He came from a poor family with seven siblings, and his father died when Theodor was only 11 years old. This forced him to get out and get a job as an apprentice, which inevitably lead him to meet art historian Diderich Aall, who saw how gifted the boy was. Aall decided to pay for his art education.

In 1874, 17 years old, Kittelsen attended Wilhelm von Hannos drawing school in Christiania (now Oslo). In 1876, he travelled to München, to study at the royal art academy there.

Kittelsen’s depiction of trolls have largely shaped how people see these beloved fictional creatures.

His family’s home at Lauvlia is today a museum. Some of his most popular works were made here. His wife Inga was a stay-at-home teacher for their nine children and she organised his exhibitions.

Th. Kittelsen also composed an eerie book with illustrations about the Black Death.

Despite being very talented, Kittelsen never achieved financial security through his works.

Fun Fact: The Norwegian black metal band Burzum have used Kittelsen’s drawings for their albums Hvis lyset tar oss and Filosofem.

(Sources: wikipedia, google and theodorkittelsen.no)

“Far, far away, Soria Moria Palace shimmered in Gold”
“Self portrait” – 1887. I think this might be the best self portrait I’ve seen 😀 
“Nøkken as a white horse”. In legends and fairytales, Nøkken is a personalisation of what lives in the eerie unknown waters in forests. He lives in rivers, fresh water lakes and bogs, and often lures people in to drown them. One of Kittelsen’s most famous works is “Nøkken”.
“The troll who wonders how old he is”. I remember seeing this painting is school books, and absolutely falling in love with it.
“Huldra disappeared”. In legends, Huldra is a beautiful female creature who lures men into the woods, kind of like Nøkken. I love the misty feeling in this one.
“Echo” – 1888, oil on canvas. I absolutely adore this painting, inspired by Lofoten. Kittelsen regarded this as his best work.

The Brothers Hildebrandt

When I was a kid, I used to flick through my dad’s art books and magazines, and I specifically remember seeing fantasy paintings. Fantasy is a very unique genre, and I love how skillful you have to be with your brush to make good fantasy art. Tim and Greg Hildebrandt are two of these.

Short trivia: Greg and Tim Hildebrandt, known as the Brothers Hildebrandt (born January 23, 1939), are American twin brothers who worked collaboratively as fantasy and science fiction artists for many years. They produced illustrations for comic books, movie posters, children’s books, posters, novels, calendars, advertisements, and trading cards. Tim Hildebrandt died on June 11, 2006.

They began painting professionally in 1959 as the Brothers Hildebrandt. The brothers both held an ambition to work as animators for Walt Disney, and although they never realized this dream, their work was heavily influenced by illustration style of Disney feature films such as Snow White, Pinnochio and Fantasia.

The brothers are best known for their popular The Lord of the Rings calendar illustrations, illustrating comics for Marvel Comics and DC Comics, original oil paintings for a limited edition of Terry Brooks’s The Sword of Shannara, and their Magic: The Gathering and Harry Potter illustrations for Wizards of the Coast.

(Sources: timhildebrandt.com and Wikipedia)

“An unexpected party” – Greg and Tim Hildebrandt.
A scene from Tolkien’s children’s book The Hobbit.
“Mushroom village of the elves” – Tim Hildebrandt
“Gandalf visits Bilbo” – Greg and Tim Hildebrandt
Weird looking cat-fish-creature by Tim Hildebrandt.
Tim Hildebrandt’s painting of J.R.R. Tolkien sitting under a tree with one of his own imaginary creatures.

Phil Couture

An oil painting artist I discovered last year on Etsy. As mentioned above, I like Asian art, and also fine art, so Phil Couture’s oil portraits of geishas really deserved a place on my list. I ordered one of his prints not long ago. Style: realism.

Short trivia: Philippe Couture was born in Drummondville, Canada in 1984, raised in Lakeland, Florida, and currently resides in Kyoto, Japan.  He has been drawing and painting his entire life and Phil’s art education was primarily self-taught.  His training consisted of drawing and painting from life, studying masterpieces in museums around the world, and employing exercises taught by classical ateliers. – from his own website.

Couture also has his own Instagram page.

“The scarlet fringe (Shirakawa)”
“Ichiaya”
“Hanatouro”

Thanks for reading! Who is your favourite artist?



Adventure, Culture, Landscape, Photography, Spirituality

Riddu Riddu 2018

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Noen blinkskudd fra årets Riddu Riddu-festival i Manndalen! Herrefred, kor æ kosa mæ 😀 Topp fem mest minneverdige øyeblikk fra festivalen:

1. Tyva Kyzy – et tuvansk strupesanggruppe. Fikk sett de hele 3 ganga; en intimkonsert i en yurta, en gang på hovedscenen og enda en gang under frivilligfesten.
2. DJ Shub + Classic Roots, de spilte på fredagen (sjanger: pow wow dub). Du kan sjekke ut en av de beste sangene her.
3. Møte med andre urkulturer.
4. Koselige stunder rundt bål.
5. Alle de vakre koftene som var å se.

Books, Culture, Dharma, Spirituality

Books

Some books I 1) have read and loved, 2) plan to read and 3) am currently reading 🙂

1)

* Stones to Shatter the Stainless mirror: The fearless teachings of Tilopa to Naropa:

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Excerpt from the book: “…I suppose that is the secret and the point of this Vision. In every situation, there is the relative view; where there are others and a world to serve with loving-kindness, compassion and generosity. And there is also the Ultimate view; where there are no others and no world. Only the mind of clear light, manifesting in the various illusions.”

This book really hit home for me; it’s easy to read,  is filled with wisdom but also some funny parts that I could recognize from my own path. It’s written in a way that shows Naropa’s own point of view and the hardships he went through to humble himself enough to receive the teachings of Tilopa. Also, there are some direct “pointers to the moon” by Tilopa at the very end of the book.

* The Life of Milarepa

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“It presents a quest for purification and buddhahood in a single lifetime, tracing the path of a great sinner who became a great saint. It is also a powerfully evocative narrative, full of magic, miracles, suspense, and humor, while reflecting the religious and social life of medieval Tibet.

I have heard this book three times on audio, and it actually only gets better each time. The words are collected and written down by Tsangnyön Heruka (“The madman Heruka from Tsang”), and tells the story of Milarepa‘s physical and spiritual journey towards enlightenment. It’s written in quite a humorous way, I think, and has been very inspirational for me. Actually planning on hearing/reading it again very soon!

2)

* White Lotus: An explanation of the Seven Line prayer to Guru Padmasambhava

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“Mipham Rinpoche’s famous explanation of the Seven Line Prayer to Guru Rinpoche. In this remarkable text the author explains the Seven Line Prayer in the context and application of the main practices of the Nyingma school, including Trekchö and Tögal in an exceptionally clear and accessible manner. ”

Actually found this book as a free pdf file HERE!

* Lady of the Lotus-born: The life and Enlightenment of Yeshe Tsogyal

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“This classical text is not only a biography but also an inspiring example of how the Buddha’s teaching can be put into practice. Lady of the Lotus-Born interweaves profound Buddhist teachings with a colorful narrative that includes episodes of adventure, court intrigue, and personal searching.”

I ordered this book from Amazon about a week ago; patiently waiting for it to drop into my mail box! I have been fascinated by, and feel very close to, Yeshe Tsogyal for the last 6 months or so, so am very excited to start reading this book. I normally order books to my Kindle app, but there is something very nice about having the book physically in your hands too 🙂 Especially if you are in a coffee shop reading, which I often do.

* Sky Dancer: The secret life and songs of the Lady Yeshe Tsogyal

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Another book on Yeshe Tsogyal. Not much on this book when I google it, but still seems worth reading and easy to order for my Kindle app. The cover shows a picture of Vajrayogini/Naljorma – one of Yeshe Tsogyal’s aspects.

* The Life of Longchenpa: The Omniscient Dharma King of the Vast Expanse

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“Compiled from numerous Tibetan and Bhutanese sources, including Longchenpa’s autobiography and stories of his previous lives and subsequent rebirths, The Life of Longchenpa weaves an inspiring and captivating tale of wonder and magic, of extraordinary visions and spiritual insight, set in the kingdoms of fourteenth-century Tibet and Bhutan. It also reveals for the first time fascinating details of his ten years of self-exile in Bhutan, stories that were unknown to his Tibetan biographers.”

Since I loved The Life of Milarepa so much, I have been looking for more biographies on spiritual teachers to read, and stumbled upon this one on Longchenpa, a teacher from the Nyingma lineage. These kinds of biographies seems to be very inspiring and motivational for my own path, and I just generally enjoy reading about other people’s path, and the way they deal with hardships and challenges. Still have not ordered this one, but it’s on my list!

3)

* The Heart of Compassion: The thirty seven verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva

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“What would be the practical implications of caring more about others than about yourself? This is the radical theme of this extraordinary set of instructions, a training manual composed in the fourteenth century by the Buddhist hermit Ngulchu Thogme, here explained in detail by one of the great Tibetan Buddhist masters of the twentieth century, Dilgo Khyentse.

Only just started on this one, think I am on page 4. I have been meaning to read Dilgo Khyentse’s autobiography Brilliant Moon for some time, but then I stumbled upon this book instead and will finish this before I start on the other. Dilgo Khyentse is by far one of the most inspirational buddhist teachers I know of, so looking forward to see if I like this text.

* Wild Ivy: The spiritual autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin

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“Hakuin Zenji (1689-1769) is a towering figure in Japanese Zen. A fiery and dynamic teacher and renowned artist, he reformed the Zen Rinzai tradition, which had fallen into stagnation and decline in his time, revitalizing it and ensuring its survival even to our own day. Hakuin emphasized the importance of zazen, or sitting meditation, and is also known for his skillful use of koans as a means to insight.”

I am, unfortunately, a very slow reader and have spent a few months on this book, but I really do like it and plan on finishing it. It’s filled with personal accounts of Hakuin and also some lovely calligraphy paintings.

* More than Two: A practical guide to ethical polyamory

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As the title implies, this is a book about polyamory. As a person who is relatively new to this kind of relationship structure, I thought I could use some pointers. Only read the introduction so far, but it seems promising.

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If you have any books to recommend, please do not hesitate to comment or link it to me 😀