Outi Pieski is a visual artist whose paintings, collages, installations, and video works examine the identity and history of the Sámi people. Her work amalgamates the Sámi visual tradition of duodji and contemporary art practices. Duodji is a traditional way of collectively making items with your hands, and for Pieski duodji is also a way of dealing with responsiveness, honesty, and belonging. As well as, a means of remembering that we, as humans, are connected to all living things.
The exhibition The 47 Most Wanted Foremothers explores the complex history of the ládjogahpir, the Sámi woman´s headgear. The exhibition forms part of an interdisciplinary project Máttaráhku ládjogahpir—The Foremother’s Hat of Pride (2017–20) by Pieski and archaeologist Eeva Kristiina Harlin. The collaborative project examines the colonisation of the mind and body in Indigenous Sámi women’s history through the lens of an object, the ládjogahpir hat.
The project is a collaboration between historical and archaeological research, social activism, craftivism, the revitalising of duodji (Sámi craft traditions) and artistic practices. The 47 Most Wanted Foremothers is an inventory of nearly all known ládjogahpirs (60 in total) in European museums, of which one of them lies in the cellar of the British Museum. It creates a powerful matriarchal group of foremothers ready to return back home. Through the project Pieski and Harlin examined links between ládjogahpir and the indigenous concept of rematriation. Only in their own cultural context can belongings be truly helpful in the processes of remembering, decolonizing, and healing.
The project has also resulted in a book; Ládjogahpir—Máttaráhkuid gábagahpir/ The Ládjogahpir—The Foremothers ́ Hat of Pride published by Davvi Girji in 2020.
Outi Pieski (b. 1973) is a Sámi visual artist based in Ohcejohka (Utsjoki) and Numminen, Finland. She graduated with an MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts, Department of Painting, Helsinki in 2000. Pieski has exhibited in Sápmi and internationally, most recently at Helsinki Biennial, 2021, 13th Gwangju Biennale, 2021, Sven Harry´s Art Museum, Stockholm, 2021, EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, 2018, Espoo, Southbank Centre, 2017, London, and with the Miracle Workers Collective (MWC) in the Finnish Alvar Aalto Pavilion at the La Biennale di Venezia, 2019. Outi Pieski is represented in many collections, among others Moderna Museet, National Museum Norway, EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, and the Sámi Parliament Norway/ Sámi Art Collection. Outi Pieski won the Fine Arts Academy of Finland Award in 2017 and the Finnish Cultural Foundation Grand Prize in 2020.