Down North / Contemporary Art in the Arctic

The exhibition traces shared experiences within the region through a wide range of works of art in different media.

By ArcticToday - May 11, 2023
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Anders Sunna, Torne STYX (detail), 2021. Courtesy of Angelika Knäpper Gallery. © Anders Sunna / Bildupphovsrätt 2023.

By Umeå University

On 26 May, Bildmuseet in Sweden opens an exhibition with works by thirty contemporary artists from the Arctic regions of the world, a collaboration with art museums in Iceland and the USA.

The world’s most northern regions are emerging as more important than ever before. Areas previously seen as peripheral are leading a societal transformation that will shape our common future. The exhibition Down North presents works by thirty contemporary artists from Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and the United States, as well as from Sápmi and other indigenous nations in the Arctic regions. They explore the critical issues of our time and use art as a catalyst for change.

Today’s climate and environmental changes and a problematic colonial history have inspired works of art that address social, economic, political, and ecological challenges throughout the Arctics. Other works confront the illusion of the North as remote wilderness and challenge the romanticised notion of untouched land and its perceived homogeneity.

The exhibition traces shared experiences within the region through a wide range of works of art in different media, reflecting novel affinities and chasms within societies and among nations in the North Atlantic.

Participating artists: Ragnar Axelsson (Iceland), Jordan Bennett (Canada), Jason Brown (US), Reggie Burrows Hodges (US), Christopher Carroll (US), Jóhan Martin Christiansen (Faroe Islands), Lauren Fensterstock (US), Gideonsson/Londré (Sweden), Julie Edel Hardenberg (Greenland), Joan Jonas (US), Jessie Kleemann (Greenland), Justin Levesque (US), Anna Líndal (Iceland), Meagan Musseau (Canada), Ann Cathrin November Høibo (Norway), Mattias Olofsson (Sweden), Frida Orupabo (Norway), Katarina Pirak Sikku (Sweden), Bita Razavi (Finland/Estonia), Joshua Reiman (US), Hans Rosenström (Finland), Máret Ánne Sara (Norway), Magnús Sigurðarson (Iceland), Andreas Siqueland (Norway), Peter Soriano (US), Anders Sunna (Sweden), Superflex (Denmark), Snæbjörnsdottír/Wilson (Iceland/UK), D’Arcy Wilson (Canada), Arngunnur Ýr (Iceland).

Down North / Contemporary Art in the Arctic runs from 26 May 2023 – 14 January 2024. It is organised by Bildmuseet, Sweden; Portland Museum of Art, US; and Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland. Curators: Anders Jansson, Jaime DeSimone, and Markús Þór Andrésson.

The exhibition is supported by Eimskip, Region Västerbotten, the Icelandic Climate Fund, Nordic Culture Fund, Nordic Culture Point, and the Embassy of Canada to Sweden.

Exhibition opening on Friday 26 May 17:00–24:00
The exhibition is inaugurated by museum director Katarina Pierre at 19:00. Curator Anders Jansson, Bildmuseet, gives a short introduction together with Jaime DeSimone, and Markús Þór Andrésson. Several of the participating artists will talk about their works in the exhibition at 20:00.

Tour with artists and curators on Sunday 28 May 14:00–16:00
Walk-and-talk with artists and curators in the exhibition. Several of the participating artists will talk about their works in conversation with curators Anders Jansson and Jaime DeSimone.

Further information
Anders Jansson, curator of the Down North exhibition
+46 90 786 91 10, [email protected]

Helena Vejbrink, press contact
+46 90 786 90 73, [email protected]


Bildmuseet is one of Sweden’s foremost venues for international contemporary art and visual culture. The exhibitions are produced in collaboration with artists, museums and universities worldwide, and often attract both national and international attention. As a visitor, you are invited to participate in guided tours and creative workshops, listen to artist talks, debates, lectures and live music, watch film screenings and attend other events.


Housed in an acclaimed building at the Umeå Arts Campus, right next to the Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, Umeå Institute of Design and Umeå School of Architecture, Bildmuseet is a part of Umeå University– one of Sweden’s largest institutions of higher learning with over 36000 students and 4,000 employees. It is a multifaced university where studies and research within the creative realm make up an important part of the university’s cornerstone.