Nils-Johan Labba - Arctic Indigenous Design Archives (AIDA)

Nils-Johan Labba



Nils-Johan Labba was born in 1984 and grew up in Leava, Sami village, in Kiruna (Giron) where he lives and works today as a duojár and entrepreneur.

He comes from a family with a great interest towards crafts. The fact he has roots in both North Sámi and Ume Sámi territory is visible in his craftsmanship. Maintaining traditional knowledge in the living Sámi culture is important for Nils-Johan.

Nils-Johan started his company shortly after he finished his education at the Sámij Åhpadusguovdásj (the Sami Education Center) in Jokkmokk in 2008. Since, he has been constantly active; participated in many touring exhibitions, held courses, and educated wood and antler crafts in the Sámi handicraft education for a few years.

In 2012 he was awarded with the Asa Kitok scholarship and his exhibition at the Sámi Duodji, Sámi handicraft foundation in Jokkmokk, in 2013 was thought thoroughly with high quality works. In 2018 he also received the Barbro Wingstrand scholarship from the National Association of Swedish Handicraft Societies.

He holds a master's degree in duodji and has recently had an apprentice, Anders Svonni, who accomplished a journeyman license in duodji.

Nils-Johan is known for being an accurate and productive duojár. He has customers inside and outside Sápmi, and he studies at each customer's origin and areal traditions in his creations. Also, Nils-Johan is politically involved and specially pursues issues related to duodji.

The Nils-Johan Labba archive reflects his history; from having a hobby of painting tin figures in detail at young age to going to Sámij Åhpadusguovdásj (Sami Education Center) to starting a business and developing into an established duojár.

The archive consists of sketches, paper templates, student works, exhibition materials, photographs, and leaflets. As well as objects that are well used or damaged, and experiments.