Before the concert on Saturday I went to the music caf? Aja by the museum to listen to Margareta Granvik tell stories, talk about her paintings which decorate the walls in that room, and to hear her sing songs which were written for a multi-media show involving these paintings. After her performance I had a chance to talk to her for a while, about art, inspirations, symbolics and S?mi mythology. To read more about this and view some of her art, click on the extended entry link below.
Margareta Granvik is an artist and a jazz singer, and she has often had the jazz as an inspiration for her painting (the bluebird which appears in many of her paintings is the “freedombird of the jazz” and also represents the freedom of nature). She has always been interested in S?mi mythology, but it was not until 1997 that she started painting motifs from that. In June that year she went hiking in the mountains in north Sweden, and all of a sudden there was a snow storm, causing great anxiety. When she got back to civilization again, she bought a record by the musician and poet Valkeap?, and she was struck by how much the sounds that were on there reminded her of the sounds she had encountered on her hike. Drums also made up an important part of the record, and while listening, she imagined what a shaman would look like, and decided to paint it. She later heard rumours that Valkeap? was a shaman himself, something which she didn?t know at the time.
In many of Margareta?s paintings the following figure appears:
The words comprising this figure can be read in any direction, and according to Margareta, it was first used by Christians. The meanings of the different words are as follows:
SATOR = ruler
AREPO = openness
TENET = stable, impossible to disturb
OPERA = occasion, activity
ROTAS = rotation, change
TENET, as you can see reads as a cross in the middle of the figure. This has been a great inspiration for Margareta. In her own words she claims that it has influenced her to ?believe in what I do, and use the powers of creativity to stand firm against evil. To dare moving on, but not always believe that the easy way is the right one, and not to be afraid of struggling.?
The white wolf can also be found in many of Margareta?s paintings. What she didn?t know when she did her paintings was that there is a story that says that the person who teases a n?jd can be turned into a wolf. The outcome of that wolf?s first reindeer hunt is crucial to his future: if he doesn?t catch the reindeer he will have blood in his mouth, and then be turned into a human again. If he, on the contrary, catches the reindeer and eats it, he will be a wolf forever. However, if the wolf which once has been human eats cooked food he will turn into a human again.
All of these paintings are part of the multi-media show ?Bluebird takes off ? about wolves, wilderness, gods and love??. A group of musicians have taken Monika?s paintings as a starting point and composed music to go with them. You can read more about this at Monika?s webpage.
Before I had to leave to go to the concert, she also gave me an old Schaman incantation:
“Ge mig kraft att f?rjaga de svarta andarna.
Ge oss kraften hos tusen vindar
F?r att utpl?na de onda makterna”
(Translates something like: ?Give me the power to chase the black spirits away. Give us the power of thousand winds to obliterate the evil powers?)