Joar Nango’s installation, Sami Shelters, consists of five hand-knitted woollen sweaters in ten different shades of colour, accompanied by knitting patterns that are given away as handouts. Nango’s work is often influenced by his background as an architect, however claiming that architecture lack a critical and self-reflexive discussion, in particular in relation to potential architecture, not yet manifested physically in the world. Nomadism, and more transitory conceptions of space, is his focus of interest, as these cultural practices are able to connect both traditional lifestyles and political resistance.

Sami Shelters involves several defining elements of nomadism, first by integrating the original portable shelter of the Sami, the lavvu, in another portable shelter: a sweater. Second, by addressing the nomadic through its transcultural ingredients, a traditional Norwegian wool sweater that instead of the familiar striped and checkered patterns, have integrated images of a Sami lavvu. In contrast, the lavvu of the sweaters have elements of non-Sami architecture; they are real constructions that exist throughout the Norwegian Sápmi region inspired by the lavvu, but are made permanent, with solid materials, even concrete. His interest is “in breaking up the somewhat simplified understanding of indigenous cultures as something opposed to modern development. Identities or cultures do not work like that”.

About the artist
Joar Nango is a Sámi artist and an architect with a degree from NTNU in Norway. He is a founding member of the architectural collective FFB which works with temporary architecture in urban contexts. Nango’s works explore the boundary between architecture, design and visual art. Joar Nango relates to questions of indigenous identity, often through investigating the oppositions and contradictions in contemporary architecture. He has worked on the theme The Modern Sámi Space through, amongst other things, a self-published zine series entitled Sámi Huksendáidda: the Fanzine, design project Sámi Shelters and the mixtape/clothing project Land & Language. His projects have taken him to different places in the Sápmi where he made detailed studies of Sámi architecture.

Nango has presented solo exhibitions at Gallery SAW, Ottawa, Canada (2013); Norwegian Scuplture Biennial, Oslo (2013); Knipsu, Bergen, Norway (2012); SDG, Karasjok, Norway (2011) and Raum der Junge Kunste, Berlin, Germany (2010). His work has also been included in group exhibitions at The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Norway (2013); Abbaeys aux Dames, Caen, France (2013) and Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, NY, USA (2012).