Jon Roth and the Sami Art of Lars Pirak

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Lars Pirak-pewterbird

Lars Pirak, a Sami artist, was born in 1932 in Jokkmokk, far north in Sweden. His art grew from the indigenous Sami culture spanning over Scandinavia and northern Russia that’s still active today. For his entire life he was surrounded by Sami duodji (craft) and grew to become a skilled artist in the form. Pirak’s fine art ranges from crafting sculptures such as his famous Ptarmigan (bird shaped salt cellar made from reindeer antler) and paintings of Sami life. He was well known for participating in festivals and singing joik (Sami songs). He died in 2008. What drew me to Pirak’s work was his illustrative detailed style in his paintings of landscape, reindeer, and people, and his use of vibrant colors contrasted with the arctic landscape.

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