Alan Borvo´s Postcard Collection

With an Eye for the Sámi

Storgata 95

9. December 2017 - 24. April 2018

Mari Hildung

This exhibition is based on the Frenchman Alan Borvo’s impressive collection of several thousand postcards with informative texts and sketches. The collection came into being over several years, when Borvo, as a young student, visited Sámi communities in Finnmark in the 1950s. The material is kept in 21  folders organized according to thematic and geographical categories, and is now owned by Borvo’s Sámi friends in Karasjok, Jelena and Nils John Porsanger. Here you can find postcards from the first decade after the visual medium was introduced in the 1800s, collotypes with watercolour glazes applied by hand, pictures made by professional photographers and recognized artists, as well as often-imaginative contributions from amateurs. Alan Borvo’s time in the North and his genuine interest in Sámi culture resulted in a large private collection of objects and children’s drawings as well,  that have been exhibited several places in Europe.

A boom in tourism in the early 1900s spurred the mass-production of photographic postcards. As a travel destination, the exotic North was shrouded in romantic notions about Europe’s last wilderness – a place where people still lived in harmony with Creation. Exaggerations and stereotypes characterize the earliest postcards. Geographical and cultural distance made an impact, as did political and ideological conditions.

The exhibition is supported by the Sami Parliament