Many Norwegians feel a close attachment to folk costumes like the bunad and the kofte. These traditional garments can generate a strong sense of belonging, but also of alienation. They carry messages about where the wearer comes from and what they stand for, but they can also be worn in the quest for acceptance and inclusion.
Given the strength of costume traditions, it can hard to remember that these garments were once seen as radical and political. For many, they still are. How did the colours, the styles and their norms of use come about? And how do the traditions of folk costumes, of the kofte and the bunad, survive and evolve in the current social and political landscape?
In collaboration with other museums and institutions in Norway, the National Museum is taking a long close look at the craftsmanship and history of these garments. Over the next few years, six artists will engage in dialogue with traditional craftspeople and knowledge bearers, and create their own statements. First stop for this touring project is Valdres Folkemuseum, on Saturday 17 June.
Traditional Sami crafts in “Skakke folkedrakter”
For one of the artists in the project, Márjá Karlsen, it was the Sami duodji craft tradition that helped her, as an adult, to rediscover her Sami identity and culture. On the occasion of the Sami national day, 6 February, Karlsen came together with journalist Dávvet Bruun-Solbakk and duoji practitioner Anna-Stina Svakko to talk about duodji, identity, belonging, and alienation.
About the project
“Skakke folkedrakter” is a touring research and exhibition project that has been developed in collaboration with, among others, the Norwegian Institute for Bunad and Folk Costume, Valdres Folkemuseum, Randsfjord Museum, Museum Stavanger and Bodø Cultural Capital 2024. The project is an initiative of the National Museum.
Márjá Karlsen, Harald Beharie, Rafiki, Lin Wang, Håvard Kranstad, and Christian Blandhoel
Justine Nguyen, Lars Korff Lofthus, Tuva Syvertsen, Dávvet Bruun-Solbakk, and Wenche Mühleisen (consultant)
Folk costume consultants
Marita Mikkelsen, Liisa-Rávná Finborg, Camilla Rossing, Anna-Stina Svakko