Katarina Pirak Sikku was born in 1965 and grew up in Jåhkåmåhkke (Jokkmokk) where she currently lives and works as an artist. She is from a family where both duodje and art has been a natural part. She was in her 30s when she began her artistic education, first in Kiruna and then at the Umeå University’s Academy of the Fine Arts. In 2005, she graduated in Fine Art.
Since then, Katarina has had several exhibitions, for instance at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Museum of Visual Arts in Umeå, Skellefteå Art Gallery and at Ájtte museum in Jokkmokk. At Mid Sweden University in Östersund, you can walk through her public work Vájaldibme / Vandring (2019).
Katarina's artistic practice is reminiscent of the exploration of ethnology as archival studies at the Swedish State Institute of Racial Biology in Uppsala have been a central part in her work with the history of racial biology. Her way of working can be described as paying attention to wounds in the landscape and in people, seeking out places and peoples stories, and facing evil without giving up. She has processed the legacy of racial biological research in several exhibitions and works, including Nammalahppan (2014) and Agálaččat bivttastuvvon sohkagotti ivnniiguin Ihkuven aajkan maadtoej klaeriejgujmie gåårveldihkie (2020).
Katarina often works with installations and in large projects. Yet instead, her archive consists of preparatory work and sketches, mainly her early work. The work Ninety-nine years and nine months between Tina Margareta and Máridjá Margareta Afra (2002) revolves around three generations of memories around a silver collar. Through the archive we can trace her work process. In Just for the pleasure (2004) she takes power over definitions of gender, sexuality, and ethnicity through a humorous play with clothes and codes.
Katarina's image: Mattias Lindbäck
Katarina Pirak Sikku's archive contains parts of works as well as preparatory works, such as sketches, samples and experiments. It contains material from Katarina's training period. There are also photographs, catalogues, brochures, and patterns.