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Gjert Rognli

Rognli is an artist who has been focussing heavily on nature for many years.

He was born in Manndalen in Kåfjord, which is now renowned for the large Riddu Riđđu indigenous festival. As an adult Rognli became seriously interested in his Sea Sami background. His artistic work is mythical and staged and derives inspiration from his home areas. Rognli often has overlapping motifs in his photo series and films. In his tableaux we encounter atmospheric landscapes containing objects, inexplicable lights and rings of light. Rognli often works with both natural and artificial light sources and sometimes his pictures have grotesque elements, such as a huddled naked human body (the artist himself) with a reindeer head.

In The Dawn of Day (2006), a blood-red river flows through the landscape, while a black bird flies through the forest. According to curator Kjellaug Isaksen, the picture can be interpreted in relation to Rognli's Sea Sami roots and the pain suffered by the Sami population, something which has led to the loss of their history and traditions. In many cases the Sami have been displaced from their own landscape.

This was done partly by encouraging settlers to move to the northern parts of Norway, i.e. free land was distributed to Norwegians who wanted to settle in, for example, Finnmark. The Sami way of relating to nature was systematically devalued and an attempt was made to introduce non-traditional agriculture which was not suitable for either the soil or the climate.

This text has been taken from an essay written for the exhibition catalogue by Christine Hansen, the co-curator of the exhibition.

  • A red river meanders through a forest with birch trunks and a green forest floor. A black bird can be seen in the left corner. Photograph.
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    © Gjert Rognli, The dawn of day, 2006. Preus museum Collection.
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Museum24:Portal - 2024.05.06
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