YAA 2021


Video by Santeri Happonen, Music: “Interstellar” by Mindseye

Young Arctic Artists 2021 exhibition was organised in Rovaniemi, Finland between September 4th and 28th 2021 and in Alattio (Alta), Noway between October 23rd and November 4th 2021. The venues of the exhibition were Gallery Napa and Studio Mustanapa in Rovaniemi and Alta Kunstforening’s gallery in Alattio. As a part of the project Maiya Syrstad Jerijervi also carried out a mural painting on the wall of the Rovanemi Art Museum’s building . The opening night of the Rovaniemi exhibition ended in cultural house Wiljami, where Alina Belyagina’s and Amie Jammeh’s performance “Image We Combat With” was presented.

Theme: Kamppailu /Fight


Alina Belyagina (RUS) & Amie Jammeh (SWE / GM)

Johannes Heikkilä (FIN)

Åsne Kummeneje Mellem (NO / Kven)

Olga Krüssenberg (SWE)

Henna Mattila (FIN)

Annika Sellik (NO / Iisakumaa)

M. Seppola Simonsen (NO / Kven)

Maiya Syrstad Jerijervi (NO / Kven)

Karin Keisu (SWE / Meänmaa) and Josse Thuresson (SWE)

Ida Isak Westerberg (SWE / Meänmaa)


Savu Korteniemi (FIN), Panu Johansson (FIN), Katriina Pedersen (NO / Kven) & Åsne Kummeneje Mellem (NO / Kven)

More info about the artists and the artworks can be found HERE (English) & HERE (Finnish).

A video snippet from the Rovaniemi exhibition opening:

Opening Video by Santeri Happonen

Image We Combat With – Documentation Video:

Documentation of Alina Belyagina’s and Amie Jammeh’s performance


Performed 4.9.2021 in the Culture House Wiljami, Rovaniemi

What happens to a human body when it is immersed in a state of ultraviolence? How does the fact of having a weapon in our hands choreograph our movement, formulate our intentions? In the center of our artistic investigation is a body that reflects everything that happens outside. Thinking about the ways how ideologies shape our bodies and minds, in a very subtle way they restructure us from the inside, choreograph our bodies and finally make our bodies unable to act freely.

Choreography: Alina Belyagina
Dancer: Amie Jammeh
Dramaturgy & Assistant: Polina Fenko
Animation, Visual Artist: Albrecht Meixner

Light and Sound Assistant: Pekka Kumpulainen
Documentation Video by Mauri Lähdesmäki


The Rovaniemi exhibition:


The Alattio exhibition:


Artists and artwork titles are mentioned in the photo titles, when individual pieces are depicted. More info such as technique can be found from the description part of each photo.

Photos from the Rovaniemi exhibition opening:



The Young Arctic Artists 2021 exhibition with the theme “KAMPPAILU / FIGHT” will be exhibited in Rovaniemi from September 4 to 28, 2021 at Galleria Napa, Studio Mustanapa and the surrounding city space.

Young Arctic Artists exhibition series promotes young and emerging artists from the Arctic regions of Nordic countries and Russia. The aim of the exhibition series is to map the field of northern contemporary art and to promote its visibility and to create new networking possibilities in the area. The 2021 exhibition is the fourth edition of the Young Arctic Artists project. The series of exhibitions, which started in 2016, is produced by the Artists’ Association of Lapland.

The 2021 YAA exhibition “KAMPPAILU / FIGHT ” has been curated by a four-member team: Visual artists Panu Johansson and Savu E. Korteniemi are also members in the Artists’ Association of Lapland, Kven activist and filmmaker Katriina Pedersen and visual artist Åsne Kummeneje Mellem, who also belongs to the Kven community. Kummeneje Mellem will also take part in the exhibition as an artist.

The Open Call was accessible to all young Arctic artists, but the theme and implementation of the exhibition has been designed with the Kven perspective in mind. This Finnic linguistic and cultural minority was recognized as a national minority in Norway in 1999, and the Kven language became a national minority language in Norway in 2005. After a long and culturally destructive period of Norwegianization policy, identity reconstruction is underway, especially among young Kven people.

The theme of the exhibition “KAMPPAILU / FIGHT” reflects the experience typical for minorities: lliving in a constant conflict. The quest to preserve one’s own traditions, language, and culture often leads to a situation where struggle cannot be avoided; this can lead to a challenging spiral in which active individuals wear out of fighting, while the majority does not even acknowledge or recognize the conflict’s existence.

Or, as curator Katriina Pedersen states in the application notice for the exhibition:

“Fight-flight-freeze responses help us react to acute threats. These natural and good responses can become troublesome if the threat is prolonged or we can’t protect ourselves from it. I can fight for my language, I can flight from my language or I can freeze in my language. All are appropriate responses to the stress of language assimilation. How is it for Kven people? How is it for other minorities? Are they in a constant stress of assimilation ? I can often feel an internal conflict in teaching kven language/tradition. Would it not be easier to just leave it? It’s strange to experience how people truly start speaking and living Kven only when they stop fighting/fleeing/freezing. I guess it is a process of acceptance and healing.”

In addition to the gallery exhibition, a separate event will be held in Rovaniemi on Saturday, 4th of September 2021, at the Culture House Wiljami. The event will include a performance “Image we combat with” by choreographer Alina Belyagina and dancer Amie Jammeh and a video work ‘”Slowly I Move in Your Direction” by Olga Krüssenberg.

As a part of the exhibition project one of the artists, Maiya Syrstad Jerijervi, will carry out a public wall panel painting at the Korundi House of Culture. The painting will be strongly inspired by the cultural heritage of the Kvens and it will be published one week after the opening.

After Rovaniemi, the exhibition will move to Alattio in Norway in October 2021, where it will be on display at the local Alta Kunstforening’s gallery.


See a list of YAA 2021 press coverage HERE.


Young Arctic Artists 2021 exhibition was managed by Artists’ Association of Lapland.

YAA 2021 was funded and/or supported by Nordisk Kulturfond, Arts Council Norway, Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Alta Kunstforening, The Arts Promotion Centre Finland / The Arts Council of Lapland, Kvænangen språksenter, Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Foundation & The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

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