Outi Pieski is a visual artist whose paintings, collages, installations, and video works examine the identity and history of the Sámi people. Her work amalgamates the Sámi visual tradition of duodji and contemporary art practices. Duodji is a traditional way of collectively making items with your hands, and for Pieski duodji is also a way of dealing with responsiveness, honesty, and belonging. As well as, a way of remembering that we, as humans, are connected to all living things.
The exhibition The 47 Most Wanted Foremothers explores the complex history of the ládjogahpir, the Sámi woman´s headgear. The exhibition forms part of an interdisciplinary project Máttaráhku ládjogahpir—The Foremother’s Hat of Pride (2017–20) by Pieski and archaeologist Eeva-Kristiina Harlin. The collaborative project examines the colonisation of the mind and body in Indigenous Sámi women’s history through the lens of an object, the ládjogahpir hat. Through the project Pieski and Harlin examined links between ládjogahpir and the indigenous concept of rematriation.
Outi Pieski (b. 1973) is a Sámi visual artist based in Ohcejohka (Utsjoki) and Numminen, Finland. She graduated with an MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts, Department of Painting, Helsinki in 2000. As a member of The Miracle Workers Collective (MWC) Pieski has been currently exhibiting in the Finnish Alvar Aalto Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (2019). There she presented her site-specific sculptural installation Ovdavázzit – Forewalkers (2019), which is part of the project Máttaráhku ládjogahpir (A Foremother’s Hat of Pride) in collaboration with archaeologist Eeva-Kristiina Harlin and the project Rájácummá (Kiss from the Border) in collaboration with Sámi artists and activists Jenni Laiti and Niillas Holmberg. Pieski has exhibited in Sápmi and internationally, most recently at Helsinki Biennale, 2021, 13th Gwangju Biennale, 2021, Sven-Harry’s Art Museum, Stockholm, 2021, Bergen Assembly, 2019, EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, 2018, Espoo. Outi Pieski is represented in many collections, among others EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, The Norwegian Parlaments Art Collection, Finnish National Gallery and the Sámi Parliament Norway/ Sámi Art Collection. Outi Pieski won the Fine Arts Academy of Finland Award in 2017 and the Finnish Cultural Foundation Grand Prize in 2020.
The 47 Most Wanted Foremothers by Outi Pieski, 24.11.2021-7.1.2022, open Monday-Friday 10am-6pm, 12 Star Gallery, Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU.
Image credit: Outi Pieski