Anders Sunna

Anders Sunna (b. 1985) is a Northern Sami artist from a reindeer herding family in
Kieksiaisvaara, in the Swedish part of Sapmi. Sunna’s politically charged artworks narrate the
history of the violence and oppression against the Sami people and very specifically address his family’s five-decade long struggle for their right and acknowledgement to be forest reindeer
herders. Due to governmental politics, the family lost their reindeer ear marks, a customary
practice that designates ownership of reindeer and the right to work as a herder. Sunna calls
himself a ‘guerrilla reindeer herder’, using his artistic practice to empower the Sami community.

With powerful imagery and political satire his paintings, graffiti, sculptures and installations
depict how the abuse of authority and power lead to the exploitation of land and natural
resources, forced displacement, and racial persecution of the Sami people.
Sunna was featured in the exhibition ‘Abadakone / Continuous Fire / Feu continuel’, in the
National Gallery of Canada, 2019, and the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, NIRIN, 2020, both focused on Indigenous artists. For NIRIN he was commissioned to make a site-specific mural at the Campbelltown Arts Centre. The mural, titled SOAÐA, was created on-site in dialogue with local Aboriginal elders in Campbelltown, Australia. Sunna had two solo exhibitions in 2020: in Adde Zetterquist Art Gallery, Saltdal, in the Norwegian part of Sapmi, and ‘Exploration Target – Area Infected’ at Varbergs Konsthall, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Sunna was part of the Bergen Festival Exhibition 2020 at Bergen Kunsthall with a painting
commissioned by and in collaboration with Sami artist Joar Nango (the main Festival Exhibition artist).

Sunna studied fine arts at the Konstfack College of Arts in Stockholm during 2006–2009
and at the Umea Academy of Fine Arts 2004–2006. He has been commissioned to create a
range of public artworks, amongst others at the Sami University College in Guovdageaidnu and the Alta secondary school in the Norwegian part of Sapmi; and notably in the courtroom in the district court in Gallivare, Swedish part, 2013, where many legal cases on Sami issues continue to be raised today. In 2016 he collaborated with Maret Anne Sara on stage visuals for the concert ‘Lapp Affair – Unfinished Business’ at the Arctic Arts Festival in Harstad, Norway. He has also collaborated with the Sami musician Sofia Jannok with a graffiti performance for her music
video ‘We Are Still Here’, 2016. He was selected for the Moderna Exhibition 2018 titled ‘With the Future Behind Us’.

When the Swedish church made an official apology towards the Sami people on 24 November 2021 for its role in ‘legitimised repression’ and centuries of ‘mistreatment and complacency’ toward the Sami People, Sunna created two new commissioned portraits as scenography. Sunna’s works have been exhibited widely in Sápmi and internationally. OCA presented Sunna in 2017 when he made the scenography exhibition in connection to ‘Museums on Fire!’, a symposium considering the entanglement of the colonial legacy of art institutions, with the spaces and processes through which Indigenous artistic practices, past and present, are addressed.

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