Odd Marakatt Sivertsen is interested in the history of the Swedish priest Lars Levi Laestadius and his missionary activities in northern Sweden, Finland, and Norway in the 1840s. Laestadius won many followers, particularly among the Sami populace in those regions, and he created his own Christian revivalist movement with his sermons on Christian piety, but also on social challenges such as poverty and alcohol abuse. Laestadianism is still a force in Sápmi, and Sivertsen uses the religious dimension as a springboard for his paintings. He says that the themes have been “love, death, the other country, and the struggle for life. The ‘life-giving beach’ – the narrow belt of cultivated soil nearby the ocean in the north – has recently become my arena. It’s a strip of land in Sea Sami country, a buffet table, where I let life play out for better or for worse.” He predominantly depicts nature, where the colours of the sky, the moon, the sun, and the northern lights dominate the canvas, while humans only appear as tiny figures. RG