Portrett Solveig OvangerABOUT

Artist. Works with leather and fish skin. Born 1952.
Lives and works in Tromsø, Norway.
Autodidact. Member of Norwegian Association for Arts and Crafts since 1980.
Studio at Troms Fylkeskultursenter (Centre for culture) since 2002.

About my artistic work

I work with leather as material, thick oxhide and also skin from various animals and fish. I admire it’s strength and flexibility ... it’s sensuality and ability to envelop, protect and conceal. The material inspires, reminiscent of human relationships: skin marked from the outside and from within, perceptive ... skin as an expression of intimacy, touch, wordless communication.

My work has taken a new direction. The focus on fish skin has become stronger. With simple means I want to emphasise the light, fragile expression in order to reflect something basic, universal.

I have practised the tanning of catfish and salmon skins for many years. I think, however, that the conserving techniques used by nature people in the Arctic are particularly interesting. The metamorphosis of the fish skin - from a slippery, wet, raw substance to silky white fibres and delicate graphical surfaces  - is fascinating.

The Amur peoble, also called ”the Fish skin people”, from the Eastern Siberia, has for centuries used fish skin for clothing, decoration, and objects used in everyday life as well as religious rituals. Their techniques for conserving and softening the skins are time consuming, but quite simple and also environmentally friendly. Meeting representatives for these people in the autums 2011 gave me new inspiration. The result was a series of experiments with skins from local species like cod and seithe, an exhibition in the Black Box, the North Norwegian Artist’s Centre and the planning of more projects.

Current activity:

Group exhibitions together with Ingrid Larssen and Cecilie Haaland:

Elagin Palace Museum, St. Petersburg  29.6. – 25.8.2013
Arkhangelsk Museum of local lore 5.10. – 2.11.2013
Reykjavik City Hall/Handverk og Hönnun 10.1. – 9.2.2014

Catalogue (pdf)>

New exhibition
North Norwegian Artist’s Centre  14.3. – 20.4.2014

Project: Sibir – Fish skin and family history. Starts September 2013

Other activity:
2011 – 2013    Art consultant, KORO (Public Art Norway) for Kirkenes Primary and Secondary School
2011 – 2013    Head of project, Art School Tromsø, of “Neighbours & Friends”, Norwegian-Russian art school for youths
2013 – 2017    Deputy chairman of the North Norwegian Artist’s Centre since march 2013

(See CV for more information)