Bente Geving enters the collection of the National Museum of Norway
We are happy to announce that the series ‘Sør-Varangerungdom’ (“Sør-Varanger Youth”) by Bente Geving will enter the collection of the National Museum in Oslo (Nasjonalmuseet). The series was originally commissioned by Sør-Varanger municipality which is in the Finnmark region and within Sápmi territory in northern Norway, and produced in 1990.
The acquired works, nine in total, were part of the exhibition Electrification, Ripples, and a Glass Plate, curated by Hilde Methi, produced by and shown at Fotogalleriet September-November 2023. The exhibition’s public programme also saw the launch of the publication Out in the Wide World: In Dialogue with John Savio (“Ut i vide verden: Bente Geving i dialog med John Savio”) in conversation with artist and curator Raisa Porsanger, and a conversation between Geving and artists Andrea Laumont (Spain) and Christina Hazboun (UK/Palestine) moderated by Artistic Director for Fotogalleriet Antonio Cataldo as part of Oslo World.
Before this, Geving has been a part of the National Museum collection with 15 photographs from the early 1980s. The acquisition of Geving’s works are a contribution to strengthening the National Museum’s collection of Norwegian photographic art and Sámi art.
Born on 29 September 1952 in Kirkenes, Bente Geving is a Norwegian Sámi photographer and visual artist. The connection to Sámi culture and the northern Norwegian landscape have been central sources of inspiration for Bente Geving her whole career. In 1985, she photographed the everyday life of her grandmother Ellen and her sisters Anna and Inga in Goađak/Sandnes in Sør-Varanger. The series was shown at Fotogalleriet in 1988. The same photographs were recently presented at the international photography festival Rencontres d’Arles in 2023. In 2023, she also presented the project and publication ‘Out in the Wide World: In Dialogue with John Savio’ at the Savio Museum in Kirkenes, and one of the artists featured in the exhibition Electrification, Ripples, and a Glass Plate, curated by Hilde Methi and produced by Fotogalleriet.
The artist says:
“The photographic series of the everyday life of Anna, Inga and Ellen in 1985 marks the beginning of my travels in Sør-Varanger. Over time, there have been many journeys where I have asked questions, read and researched to find out more about my family and my people. 40 years ago, Sámi language and the joik was close to disappearing, because the effects of “norsification” implemented by the Norwegian state had led to its non-practice and concealment in many Sámi families. Old customs and traditions were being repressed and forgotten. Just when I thought that everything was forgotten and disappeared, something began to sprout. The stories, my family and the ripple effects of the first thing I did all intertwined and became a lifelong project.”
Geving is represented in both national and international museums, in addition to private collections, amongst them Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum in Tromsø, Berlinische Galerie in Berlin, Preus Museum in Horten, Sogn og Fjordane Art Museum, and De Samiske Samlinger in Karasjok.
To learn more about Bente Geving’s photographic practice you can read her conversation with Artistic Director Antonio Cataldo from Fotogalleriet’s anniversary publication Conversations on Photography, published in 2021 here. The publication consists of conversations between and contributions from 42 practitioners and artists from Fotogalleriet’s over 40 year history, and is available, in full, via Kehrer Verlag.
Read the full conversation here: Memories Return When Least Expected
Editor: Antonio Cataldo
Managing Editors: Håkon Lillegraven and Karen Fosse Rosness