The Sámi Artists’ Union

Sámi Dáiddačehpiid Searvi

The objective of the Sami Artists Union, founded in 1979, is to be a professional organization that supports Sami artists, craftsmen and art photographers from the entire Sami area. SDS aims to protect the professional, financial, social and idealistic interests of its members.

Membership in SDS is based on application. In order to become a member, the applicant must satisfy membership criteria adopted at the Union’s annual meeting. The annual meeting is the supreme governing body of SDS, authorised to establish and adopt the guidelines for running the organization.

The Steering Committee and the union’s Artistic Council are the executive bodies during the interim between the annual meetings. The Steering Committee shall ensure compliance with the intensions of and decisions adopted by the annual meeting, while the Artistic Council is responsible for carrying out the artistic evaluations. SDS is also a member of the Sami Artists Council, the umbrella organization for Sami artist associations, which has connections with the Nordic and the European Council of Artists. SDS’s purchasing consultants provide recommendations to the Sami Cultural Council’s art acquisition committee on the purchase of contemporary Sami art and Sami handicrafts.

In 1989 SDS won the right to negotiate with the Norwegian government, and administrate through the Sami Artists and Authors Royalty Fund (SKFV) the annual share of the grants and scholarships that arise from successful negotiations concerning exhibitions, library funding and copying royalties. The right to negotiate and access to collective royalty schemes allowed SDS to obtain better working conditions for Sami artists in their own communities, through the awarding of working grants for establishing artists, art projects and travel.

SDS has worked hard to give Sami artists their own art centre, which is now known as The Sami Centre for Contemporary Art (Samisk Senter for Samtidskunst/SDG).

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