Girjái

Performance

Girjái is a radical decolonial queer utopia: a communal performative gathering organized in a lávvu. 

Girjái dives into a world where the wisdom of the ancestors leads forward, establishing a connection with the present moment and the future. The performance consists of yoik, dance, stories, music, alter-egos and joint dreaming. Girjái invites you to dream – the performance is dedicated especially to queer Sámi and BIPOC queers of all ages, in the past, present and future. Finnish, English and Sami is used in the performance. 

We are still here – and we are still queer. 

 

Bios: 

Máret Ásllat Ivvár Ovllá Nilla Ritni Ráste, Ritni Ráste Pieski is a Deanu river Sámi storyteller, dancer, performer, choreographer and drag artist. Decoloniality, collectivity, radical dreaming, utopias, drag, joy, playfulness, queering and humour are important to his artistic work. Pieski’s recent works include: common moves project with Sonya Lindfors, this is an invitation – a performance with Alen Nsambu at Amos Rex that critiques Western museum ethics, the radical decolonial queer utopia and performative gathering Girjái. In drag, he is known as Ritni Tears. Pieski graduated as a bachelor in dance in 2023 from Theatre Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki.

Pessi Jouste is a Sámi musician and activist based in Helsinki. They are a prominent member of the VIMMA band, which addresses the ecological crisis. In addition, they are involved in other bands such as Ulla Pirttijärvi & Ulda, Suõmmkar, and Vilho Louhivuori: Amalga. Jouste is also a part of Girjái – a decolonial queer utopia -performative gathering group. They are interested in artivism, the intersection of art and activism, and have been actively involved in organizing protests, smaller events, and participating in the activity of Extinction Rebellion since 2021.

Máret Ásllat Ivvár Ovllá Nilla Biret-Iŋgá, Biret-Iŋgá Pieski is a Deanu river Sámi dancer, performer, and fashion enthusiast. They have performed in various dance productions at Sibelius Upper Secondary School, at the “Liikkeellä marraskuussa” festival in Ingri Fiksdal’s Diorama, and at Zodiak in Ásrún Magnúsdóttir’s Listening Party. Recently, they have been working as part of Girjái – decolonial queer utopia group. 

For Pieski, art is about creating a sense of coexistence and shared spaces. They are interested in mediating the joy and feeling of community that dance brings, and opening up the freedom of movement expression to people as a unifying, restorative experience. They focus on emphasizing personal experience and interpretation in their art, following the principle of “take what resonates with you.” Their main goal is to break down the assumption that someone can’t dance and what dance should look like or feel like. 

Aju Jurvanen is a creator of performances, artist and lighting designer based in Helsinki. They emphasize collectivity, sensitivity, and presence in their artistic work. They are interested in expanding the possibilities of lighting design. Additionally, they are currently fascinated by liberation, queer joy, seascapes, and the intersections of art and science. Jurvanen is currently studying in the lighting design master’s program at the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki. 

Helmi Hagelin is a Sámi costume designer, fashion designer, and artist who engages in societal discourse through visual means. Through their work and art, they aim to challenge and make visible the prevailing structures and their impacts. Currently, they are particularly interested in intersectionality and how members of minority groups are perceived in society. They examine these topics from a queer Sámi perspective. Helmi Hagelin is an industrial and brand designer with a focus on wearable design. 

Kai Mikkel Balto is an artist and duojár from Romsa with family from Kárášjohka. After completing his bachelor’s degree in digital art he decided it was time to start learning traditional duodji and working with materials found in nature. He loves experimenting with different materials and techniques, and combining tradition with modernity.

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