Reindeer are, and have long been, a central aspect of Sámi society. They are a great survival resource in the Arctic climate. Many Sámi express creativity through handicraft. Handicrafts have a strong symbolic value. This art form endorses the Sámi identity; the skills naturally create close ties with the lifestyle and the way of life. The Northern Sámi word for handicrafts is duodji, which refers to the creative activity that is performed with the hands using various materials. Duodji has been and remains an important part of Sámi society as a trade. This secondary occupation is also a bearer of culture and identity, thus making the artist a skilled master.
It is not so long ago that yoiking was banned; outside forces tried to silence this singing tradition.
Traditional Sámi yoiking is a way of remembering things, a way of writing history. Yoik is born from the deepest emotions.
Yoik is like art; you paint your memories with different tones and resonances. Times change and every time has its own sounds. These sounds surround and affect our way of living. It becomes visible in the difference between yoiks from the past and the yoiks of the present.
Photo by: Lola Akinmade Åkerström /