In Sweden, Indigenous Sámi artists are fighting to protect their ancestral lands from mining, development, and climate change.
Kiruna is the northernmost town in Sweden, hovering just above the Arctic Circle. The town is situated on the collective land that is part of the region known as Sápmi—home to the Indigenous Sámi people—which covers much of the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Russian Kola Peninsula. This corner of Sweden is not just famous for its wilderness, midnight sun and bone-chilling winters, but also for its natural resources.
It’s a place that’s breathtakingly beautiful. And in deep trouble.
Just beneath Kiruna, you’ll find the world’s largest iron ore mine, which has caused such deep cracks in the land that an entire city has had to be relocated, house by house, to avoid being swallowed. The problem? It’s situated in Sámi territory.
I’ve come to meet three Sámi artists who, in their unique ways, use their designs to protest against the exploitation of their Indigenous land.