Title: Sami-Aiggat (Sami Calendar) 

Date: 2004
Artist: Elle-Hansa, aka Hans Ragnar Mathisen or Keviseli (b. 1945)
Culture: Norwegian-Sami
Material: Block-print, inks on paper
Size: 39” H x 29.5” W
Credit: Gift of John Parrish
On View: No

Elle-Hansa is one of Norway’s most prominent contemporary artists. His images interpret Sami* thought and belief and have been featured in exhibits around the world. 

The Sami, a semi-nomadic group of people, are the few indigenous groups in Europe. This hand-inked woodblock print illustrates the Sami concept of time. The calendar is broken into eight different periods. Each section correlates to the movements and life-cycle of their reindeer herds—a vital part of Sami culture. In addition to this eight-season “year”, the Sami recognize certain months and weeks that are tied to Christian holidays and events.

* The Sami were historically called “Laplanders” in English. However, that term is now considered derogatory.