In a duo exhibition on the sixth floor, Norrbotten artists Erling Johansson (b. 1932) and Olof Marsja (b. 1986), both with their roots in the municipality of Gällivare albeit from different generations, share a generous and varied selection of works. Their cultural and linguistic affiliations find resonance in their art, illuminating also cultural complexity of the Norrbotten region. Meänkieli was Erling Johansson’s mother tongue, while he learned Swedish when attending elementary school. Growing up with the strong presence of laestadianism in his native village Sarvisvaara also influenced both person and work.
Olof Marsja, likewise, is of a Sámi family, but is as well exposed to Swedish in schooling and in society-at-large, a dual heritage also identifiable in his art. Sharing as such both geographies and the experiences of multiple influences, Erling Johansson is a respected and much recognized veteran among visual artists from Norrbotten, with an artist career now extending across six decades, working in several media, including painting, film and public works. The much younger Olof Marsja—half a century between them—has in the last few years established himself as a resourceful and accomplished sculptor and object-maker.