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“Britta Marakatt-Labba (born 1951). Portrait of Honour 2022” ©Marja Helander. Photo: Marja Helander
“Britta Marakatt-Labba (born 1951). Portrait of Honour 2022” ©Marja Helander. Photo: Marja Helander

Press release -

The National Museum in Oslo opens extensive exhibition on Sámi artist Britta Marakatt-Labba

“Britta Marakatt-Labba. Moving the Needle”
The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo
15 March–25 August 2024

Press preview 12 March, 11 am. Please contact for attendance.

“Britta Marakatt-Labba. Moving the Needle” presents the work of one of the leading textile artists of Sápmi and the Nordics.

For half a century, Britta Marakatt-Labba (b. 1951, Idivuoma) has been one of Sápmi’s most prominent artists. Using needles and threads, she creates a rich and diverse visual universe which explores issues such as the environmental struggle and climate crisis as seen from an indigenous perspective.

The National Museum’s new exhibition “Britta Marakatt-Labba. Moving the Needle” is the most extensive presentation of her work to date. It shows both her trademark embroidery and textile works, as well as graphic prints, installations and sculpture, and spans from her very first works to recent productions.

Commissioned embroidery
For the exhibition, Marakatt-Labba has created a commissioned work, Luođđat/Tracks, in which she warns against how the industrialization of nature intrudes on the reindeers’ paths, as seen in the hunt for minerals transforming her mining home county Kiruna and the construction of windfarms on Sámi reindeer pastureland.

The 24-meter-long embroidered work Historjá (2004-2007), garnering much attention in her international breakthrough at documenta 14 in Kassel in 2017, holds a central place in this exhibition, depicting scenes from Sami history, mythology and everyday life. Also on display will be iconic works like Garjját/The Crows (1981) and Girdi noaiddit/Flying Shamans (1986), along with a selection of her first sketches, which have never been exhibited before.

The exhibition will be followed by a book due for publication on 18 June, edited by Gunvor Guttorm of the Sámi University of Kautokeino, with contributions from Maria Lind (KiN Konstmuseet i Norr), Anne Sommerin Simonnæs, Randi Godø (both the National Museum) and more. The book aims to introduce Britta Marakatt-Labba’s work to a larger audience.

Britta Marakatt-Labba
A unique voice on the Nordic art scene since the early 1970s, Britta Marakatt-Labba conveys a universe of stories based on her experiences from within the Sami culture and way of life. Myths, dreams and religion feature prominently in her images, often with a humorous streak.

One of the founding members of the politically radical artist group Mázejoavku (the Masi group) in 1978, she was also active in the campaign of resistance to the development of the Alta-Kautokeino watercourse in the early 1980s. Garjját/The Crows was made during these protests and has since become a symbol of the Norwegian state’s historical mistreatment of Sámi people. With political activism still central to her art even today, she is considered an inspiration for a new generation of young Sámi and Norwegian activists currently fighting for nature conservation in general and Sámi rights in particular.

Britta Marakatt-Labba has received considerable international attention since her international breakthrough at documenta 14 in Kassel, Germany in 2017. She took part in the main exhibition at the 2022 Venice biennale, has been acquired by several museums and collections, and has received a number of awards and honors. In 2020 she was awarded the Prince Eugen Medal for outstanding artistic achievements by the King of Sweden. After numerous exhibitions over a period of more than 40 years, she is considered one of the most important textile artists of Sápmi and the Nordics.

Sápmi and the Sámi people
The Sámi are an indigenous people with traditional territories within the national borders of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The land traditionally inhabited by the Sámi people is called Sápmi.

Other exhibitions at The National Museum in 2024
An overview of the museum’s exhibition programme for 2024 is available here. Among the highlights are “Kandinsky. Into the Unknown”, opening 3 May, “Mark Rothko. Paintings on Paper”, opening 16 May, “Becoming Anna-Eva Bergman”, opening 13 June and “Else Hagen. Between People”, opening 10 October.

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The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design is the largest art museum in the Nordics. The collection contains 400,000 objects ranging from the antiquity to the present day and includes paintings, sculpture, drawings, textiles, furniture and architectural models. The new museum building opened in June 2022. At the National Museum visitors can experience a comprehensive Collection presentation of around 6,500 works, as well as a varied programme of temporary exhibitions and events. 


Simen Joachim Helsvig

Simen Joachim Helsvig

Press contact Communications advisor +47 917 64 327