Gift of Stone

by Katarina Skår Lisa







Gift of Stone is an artistic collaboration that explores a unifying Sámi art expression through several genres.

The project is an extended choreographic study of physical boundaries, stories, experiences, and spirituality of and in a landscape in Várjjat / Varanger.

The project’s starting point has been a deep inquiry of Lisa’s family and cultural heritage in the Buorresarkú / Bergeby area but the work extends beyond the personal.

It is a dialogue in and with Várjjat. The relationship between landscape, culture, and human has also been central to the theme of the work.

Where was it performed?

The work was exhibited and performed at the Varanger Sámi Museum (Várjjat Sámi Musea) and at the Oslo Academy of the Arts, in April 2019.

Gift of Stone was also presented at Riksscenen under Oslo International Theatre Festival 2020.

It was presented parallelled with dance artist Otto Ramstad and his work ‘Lineage’.

It was shared under the common event named Arv og Landskap (Heritage and landscape), including a conversation and performances.

The project consisted of photo-film work, performance and installation.

Who else participated?

Gift of Stone is an interdisciplinary pilot and (was a master project) in choreography initiated by Katarina Skår Lisa in collaboration with clothing and textile designer Ramona Salo Myrseth, composer Johan Sara Jr. and photographer Torgrim Hermansen Halvari.

Several other artists has also been a part of the work such as Johan Andreas Andersen, Georg Buljo and Marlene Martin- Bjørnsgaard.


The project was supported by Oslo Academy of the Arts with tutors Per Roar, Bojana Cvejic, Anne Grete Eriksen, external tutor Elle Sofe Sara and technical team.

The guest studio in Vadsø, Várjjat Sámi Museums, Nesseby municipality, Finnmark county municipality, Lisa’s family, fellow students and local acquaintances in Várjjat are also a great support in the project!


Heidi Åse Skår, Trond Henriksen, Karin Henriksen Lisa, Tor- Fredrik Olsen, Steinar Henriksen, Rachel Maria Niittyvuopio, Kirsti Riesto, Jorunn Jernsletten, Ingvild Marie Bjørnå Pettersen, Ole Petter Skoglund, Audhild Schanche, Kjersti Schancheen, Øy Kim-Erling Johansen, Vigdis Siri, Maja Annikki, Ann-Kristin, Bård Olsen, Heljä Pasma, Roger Persson, Rannveig Salo, Dagfinn Sigridson Skoglund, Kyuja Bae, Otto Ramstad, Thomas Talawa Prestø and Kiyoshi Yamamoto and the landscape in Varanger for guidance and help to realize this project.

Background for Gift of Stone:

The ancestors understood the Sami philosophy of being and living with the natural world, while moving in the landscape in a knowledgeable and respectful way.

Nevertheless, the destruction of the Sámi and Kven people’s culture in the Varanger area resulted in a loss of cultural heritage, partly or entirely.


Katarina Lisa, through fieldwork, investigates what this means to her today. The stones and water become navigational aids in understanding the intangible cultural heritage, leaving room to ‘feel’ and ‘sense’ in a landscape where humans and living beings are still moving and living today.

In the physical, spiritual and practical sense, Lisa seeks back to the past by looking for the myriad stories that lie within, between and/or under the stones, and through art dissemination share their experience in meeting people in Várjjat, and beyond.

Mentions of "A gift of Stone"

Gift of Stone is also made as an artist book in 50 copies with contributors that has influenced Gift of Stone.

The books is designed by Hverdag Books and is supported by Stiftelsen Fritt Ord.

It has been written about Gift of Stone in the Canadian magazine ‘Esse- On knowledge’ by Nayla Naofal. Titled Dancing Sápmi (Sami)- Landscape as pedagogy.

And in the book “Indigenous Religion(s) in Sápmi: Reclaiming Sacred Grounds” By Siv Ellen Kraft.

Rakel Maria Niittyvuopio has also used Gift of Stone as case for her master thesis «Gift of Stone».

Artikulasjoner av religion og indigenitet: En kunstners utforsking av sin samiske identitet.

Choreography by

    Katarina Skår Lisa

Textile Designer

Ramona Salo Myrseth

Pictures by

Torgrim Halvari, Susanne Hætta and Katarina Skår Lisa