Iver Jåks - Material Sensivity and Material Power 

Oct 28, 2022


Dec 22, 2022

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Exhibition opening 27.10 at 6 pm.

Opening speech by the curators of the exhibition, Hanne Hammer Stien and Kristoffer Dolmen, Hanna Horsberg Hansen from the Inger and Iver Jåks foundation and Hilde Lunde, CEO of Tegnerforbundet .

niilas helander will do the performance "du skal ikke tøyle en fri bevelgelse".


Tegnerforbundet – The Norwegian Drawing Center is proud to present the exhibition "Material Sensitivity and Material Power", featuring the Sámi artist Ánddir Ivvár Ivvár/ Iver Jåks (1932-2007) in Oslo. The exhibition opens on October the 27th and is mainly focused on Jåks’ drawings, several of which have not been previously displayed. The contemporary Sámi artists Laila Labba (1995), niilas helander (1983) and Kurt Hermansen (1948) contribute to the exhibition with new works that engage in dialogue with Jåks’ artistic practice. The exhibition is curated by Hanne Hammer Stien and Kristoffer Dolmen.

An advocate for Sámi culture.

Iver Jåks is considered one of the most influential artists from Sápmi and Northern Norway. Sami culture, tradition, religion and philosophy are the cornerstones of his work, and he has great significance for subsequent generations of Sami artists until today. Jåks was a champion of Sami culture and he contributed in many different areas within Sami and Norwegian society, from the school system to organizational life and museum work. Particularly important was his contribution to Sami society in a period where the revitalization of the language and culture gained momentum. His artistry is therefore very diverse, and he has left a deep mark. 

Drawing as a form of cognition  

Iver Jåks is primarily known for printmaking, sculpture and installation, but drawing was an important aspect of his artistic practice. He consistently used drawing as a tool to map, systematize, think, understand, assemble and create. The exhibition at the Tegnerforbundet is based on the premise that drawing is its own form of cognition, and will display a selection of Jåks' drawings together with other pieces from his prolific catalog of works.  

Duodji as a central theme in Jåks' drawings 

A central theme in the extensive drawing material Jåks left behind is duodji. Duodji generally refers to traditional Sámi crafts and handicrafts using traditional materials and techniques. Jåks referred to a definition of duodji that included all creative activity. Among other things, the material shown in the exhibition includes documentation of duodji taken from museum collections, different areas of Sápmi and sketches for his own works. The drawings he left behind demonstrate the breadth of his work. 

About Iver Jåks 

Iver Jåks was from Kárášjohka (Karasjok), where he lived most of his life. He worked with duodji, drawing, printmaking, painting, relief, sculpture, handicraft and design. Drawing from Sámi tradition, he made use of materials like wood, horn, bone and leather in his work. From the 1950s on, Jåks also illustrated a number of school books, children’s books and fiction, as well as contributing to children’s programs for Norwegian public television. He made his debut at Den Nordnorske Kunstutstilling (North Norwegian Art Exhibition) in 1959, marking the start of a career of over 40 years of consistent participation in numerous exhibitions, as well as various public commissions. 

On both the Norwegian and Swedish sides, Jåks is represented in a number of public gatherings. In Norway, his work has been purchased by most important museums, including the National Museum, the Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum and the Culture Council. He received a number of awards for his artistic works, i.a. The Norwegian Culture Council's honorary award, the Polar Circle Festival's honorary award and the Nordic Sami Council's honorary award. He was appointed a knight of the 1st class of the Order of St. Olav in 2002.

Dialogue with tendencies in today's contemporary art 

Three contemporary Sámi artists have been invited to the exhibition, Laila Labba, niilas helander and Kurt Hermansen, showing newly produced work. They belong to different generations and have very different artistic practices, but individually contribute to expanding the exhibition space and creating connections to Jåks across time and space. Inspired by Jåk’s printmaking, Labba has created a window work that acts as a prism for the exhibition. In a performance created especially for the opening of the exhibition, helander engages in dialogue with Jåks’s thinking. Hermansen, for his part, has created a lighting design for the exhibition to aid in the establishment of a conversation between the material presented and the surroundings in the gallery.  


The exhibition contains works generously on loan from the Inger and Iver Jåks Foundation, Kárášjohka gjelda/Karasjok municipality, Norway’s Arctic University Museum, UiT Norway’s Arctic University, Sámiid Vuorká-Dávvirat/The Sami Collections, Tromsø Municipality, The University Library UiT Norway’s Arctic University, and Gunn Harbitz. 

The exhibition is supported by the Sami Parliament, the Sparebankstiftelsen and the Cultural Council.


Iver Jåks
Norway's Arctic University Museum, UiT
© Iver Jåks/ BONO 2022
Photo: Olga Kvalheim



Works list - Norwegian

Works list - Sami

Press release - Norwegian

Press release - English


Read reviews and comments here .


Events during the exhibition period:

Friday 28 October at 2pm: Curator's tour with Hanne Hammer Stien and Kristoffer Dolmen. Find out more.

‍ Saturday 19 November at 10.30 - 16.30: Symposium (…) det kan godt være den billige, enkle sak er større kunst (…) - a seminar about Iver Jåks' practices and work, at Trekanten. Find out more.

Saturday 10 December, 1pm, 1.45pm and 2.15pm: Family workshop with Oslo Sámiid Duodji . Find out more.

Saturday 17 December, 1-3pm: Workshop Introduction to charcoal drawing for children from 9-12 with Laila Labba and Marte Lill Somby. Find out more.