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Indigenous Histories

Now showing

A photo of a group of men climbing on the back of an aligator, surrounded by fishes and different animals.

Acelino Tuin Huni Kuin, Movimento dos Artistas Huni Kuin (MAHKU), «Kapenawë pukeni», 2022. MASP. Foto: Daniel Cabriel/MASP Opphavsrett: © Acelino Tuin Huni Kuin


Where Stenersen

At the Stenersen museum Summer 2024

Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (MASP) in collaboration with Kode is presenting the major group exhibition Histórias indígenas / Urfolkshistorier (Indigenous Histories).

The exhibition presents different accounts of indigenous experience from South America, North America, Oceania, and the Nordic region, through art and visual culture, curated by artists and researchers who are indigenous or of indigenous descent.

– This is a rare event on a global scale and perhaps the largest group exhibition of indigenous art at a museum in Europe. Indigenous art represents an important counter-narrative, says Irene Snarby, curator for the section with art from Sápmi.

In Bergen, the exhibition will be displayed throughout Stenersen, where the audience will encounter around 285 works created by over 170 artists. The works cover a wide range of media, typologies, origins, and time periods from before European colonization to the present day.

The exhibition is organized in collaboration with one of Latin America's leading art museums, Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (MASP) in Brazil, where it first opened in October 2023.

This vast and varied show celebrating the work of indigenous artists from North and South America, Oceania, and the Nordic region is a joy.

Veronica Simpson, Studio International

Challenging the concept of "history"

Despite its international scope and its temporal breadth, the project does not take an all-encompassing nor an encyclopedic approach – quite the contrary.

In this respect, it is important to consider the meaning of the word “histórias” in Portuguese, which is rather different than “histories” in English.

The term “histórias” encompasses both fiction and nonfiction, historical accounts as well as personal ones, of a public and private nature, on both micro and macro levels.

In Norwegian, the term “historier” shares a similar dual significance, signifying both an interpretation of the past and a personal narrative.

As such, these terms possess a more polyphonic, speculative, open, incomplete, processual, and fragmented quality than the traditional notion of history.

The exhibition is a patchwork of creativity and trauma, and is just one example of a drive to reframe Indigenous art that is building momentum.

Christian House, CNN
Et fotografi av en kvinne i tradisjonelle klær fra Peru som står med en knyttet hånd løftet, og et lett smil.

Alexander Luna: Maxima Acuña en Tragadero Grande delante de la Laguna Azul [Maxima Acuña in Tragadero Grande in front of the Laguna Azul], 2012. Collection of the artist, Lima, Peru.

Bilde fra en utstilling, tre kvinner står i salen og snakker sammen.

Urfolkshistorier / Indigenous Histories. Seksjon / section: Sápmi Foto: Dag Fosse / Kode

Foto av to kunstverk på vegg, ett fotografi av en gruppe samiske kvinner i sort-hvitt omgitt av en rosa ramme i reinskinn og pels, og et lite trykk av et koftekledt par som kysser, omgitt av en ramme utført i duodji-teknikk.

Left: Sophus Tromholt, Elen Clemetsdatter with daughters, Kautokeino, 1882–1883, Collection of University of Bergen. Right: John A. Savio, Gánda ja nieida [Boy and Girl], ca. 1925–35, both works framed by works from Raisa Porsanger and Märjá Karlsen (2021).

Et maleri av fire kvinner i et åpent hus i leire og strå. De er nakne og to bærer spedbarn på armen. De sitter på krakker eller i hengekøyer. To bærer tradisjonell kroppsmaling.

Duhigó: Nepu Arquepu [Monkey Hammock], 2019. MASP Collection.

Abstrakt bilde med firkantede former.

Anatjari III Tjakamarra: Novices Showered with Sparks, 1974. Synthetic polymer paint on prepared cloth board. National Gallery of Australia.

Et bilde fra en utstilling med mennesker som ser på bilder på en vegg.

Urfolkshistorier / Indigenous Histories. Seksjon / section: Mexico Foto: Dag Fosse / Kode

Et abstrakt maleri i ulike farger.

Jan (Djan Nanundie) Billycan: All the Jila, 2006. Natural earth pigments and oil on canvas. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

Et objekt i perler og ulike teknikker.

Barry Ace: Sacred Water II, 2016. Beads, porcupine quills, original chart, felt-tipped pen, ballpoint pen and dye. National Gallery of Canada.

Et abstrakt maleri med runde former og snirkler i blåtoner.

Sandy Adsett: Koiri Series, 1981. Acrylic on board. Collection Sandy Adsett, and Ngāti Pāhauwera, Hastings, New Zealand.

Bilde fra en utstilling som viser mennesker som går rundt i rommet og ser på kunst.

Urfolkshistorier / Indigenous Histories. Seksjon / section: Canada Foto: Dag Fosse / Kode

Et kunstverk som viser en kvinne med fjærpryd klippet inn i et landskap og teksten "I hunt and gather at Superstore".

Joi T. Arcand: Oskinikiskwēwak “I hunt and gather at Superstore”, 2019. Photography. Indigenous Art Collection, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Quebec

En utskåret figur i tre.

Arnold Monaaki Wilson: Mihaia te Tuatahi [The First Messiah], 1965. Puriri timber. Te Papa Tongarewa, purchase, 1999, with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds, Wellington.

Et maleri i sterke farger, av en rekke mennesker med fjærpryd som vandrer over en stor krokodille.

Acelino Tuin Huni Kuin, Movimento dos Artistas Huni Kuin (MAHKU), «Kapenawë pukeni», 2022. MASP. Foto: Daniel Cabriel/MASP Opphavsrett: © Acelino Tuin Huni Kuin

Eight sections

"Indigenous Histories" will comprise eight sections: Seven devoted to the different regions in South America, North America, Oceania and the Nordic region, and one thematic section devoted to indigenous activism around the world.

Once again, the aim is not to fully represent the vast, complex, and layered indigenous histories of each particular region, but more to provide a cross-section, a fragment, or a sample of such histories in concise yet relevant selections, so that they may be juxtaposed with others from different parts of the world.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog published in Portuguese and English, reproducing the works in the show as well as essays about each of the sections written by their curators.

Indigenous Stories is curated by an outstanding group of artists and researchers. Adriano Pedrosa, artistic director at MASP, and Guilherme Giufrida are the curatorial coordinators for the project. Kode has organized the section from Sápmi/Nordic countries.

The exhibition was on display at MASP in São Paulo from October 20, 2023–February 25, 2024; it will tbe on view at Kode from April 26–August 25, 2024.


Abraham Cruzvillegas, artist (Mexico City)

Alexandra Kahsenni:io Nahwegahbow, Jocelyn Piirainen, Michelle LaVallee and Wahsontiio Cross, National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa)

Bruce Johnson-McLean, National Gallery of Australia (Canberra)

Edson Kayapó, Kássia Borges Karajá and Renata Tupinambá, MASP (São Paulo)

Irene Snarby, Kode (Bergen/Tromsø)

Nigel Borell, Auckland War Memorial Museum (Auckland)

Sandra Gamarra (Lima).

The exhibition features master sponsorship from Nubank, support from Sotheby’s and the Norwegian Consulate, and cultural support from the National Gallery of Australia and National Gallery of Canada.

Sponsors facilitating collaboration with curators

Instituto Guimarães Rosa
Embassy of Brazil - Oslo