Tomas Colbengtson

(b. 1957, Tärnaby)

Tomas Colbengtson is a Sami; born and raised in Björkvattnet, Tärnaby, Sweden.

His art is based on Sami culture and questions about identity, sensation and time.

“My surname is Norwegian and I am a citizen of Sweden – but I identify myself as a nationless Sami. Little was said about religion during my upbringing, and speaking Sami was considered shameful; Sami chanting songs (Joik) and Sami costumes and an unspoken knowledge in our family.

Enforced migration of the Northern Sami combined with the construction of hydroelectric plants and dams in the 1950-70s are just some examples of the injustice suffered by my people at the hands of the state. Speaking the Sami languages was forbidden at school until 1957, to the extent the Southern Sami dialect is not spoken any more.

Tomas said that “Maybe the disappearance of my language was the main reason for choosing to work with art”.

Tomas Colbengtson


Valand school of Fine Arts Gothenburg 1995-96
Master class in Electronic Arts Copenhagen 1996, David Rokeby
Konstfack National College of Art, Craft and Design MFA painting 1986-91 Art school Idun Loven
Sculpture 1984-86

Public collections/Representerad:
Swedish Arts Council
Norwegian Arts Council
Norrbottens museum
RDM-Samiid Vuorka-Davvirat / RDM-De Samiske museum, Karasjok, Norway Sametinget, Norway
Svenska Institutet Paris
Museum Kloster Bentlage, Germany Karolinska institute
Aguelimuseet, Sala, Sweden Grafikens Hus
Stockholm stad
Göteborg stad
Landsting och kommuner i Sverige

2014 Nordisk kulturfond
2013 Rune Petterssons Art scholarship
2012 Helge Ax:son Johnssons Art scholarship
2011 Folke Ricklund Art scholarship
2011 Grafiska sällskapets Art scholarship
2010 Bildkonstnärsfondens Art scholarship
2010 Beata Brummers Art scholarship
2009 Längmanska Art scholarship
2000 Längmanska Art scholarship
1998 IASPIS The Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s for Visual Artists
1997 Grafikenshus, Arkitektkopias Art scholarship
1994 Örnskoldsviks Art scholarship
1993 Bildkonstnärsfondens Art scholarship
1991 Byggnadsförbundets Art scholarship

Selected solo exhibitions :
2015 4 – 30 sept Gallery Maertz Contemporary Berlin Tyskland
2015 3 – 30 sept Kunstmuseum
Ilulisat Grönland
2015 4 -29 april Glassfactory Kosta/Boda Sverige
2015 14 februari- 1 mars Gallery Urs von Unger Gstaad Schweitz
2014 28 sept – 1 nov: Röros museum, Norway
2014 26 februari -22 mars Samiska veckan, Lilla Galleriet Umeå
2013 3-5 oktober Svenska Institutet, Paris, France
2013 29 aug-20 sept: Gallery NP33 Norrköping, Sweden
2013 Piteå Konsthall, Sweden.
2012 Norske Grafikere, Oslo, Norway.
2012 Ricklundgården, Saxnäs, Sweden.
2012 Galleri Konstforum, Norrköping, Sweden.
2012 Galleri Thomassen, Gothenburg, Sweden.
2012 Kiruna stadshus, Sweden.
2011 Ajtte Museum in Jokkmokk the Sami centre, Sweden.
2011 Grafiska Sällskapet, Stockholm, Sweden.
2011 Samisk Kunstnersenter SDS Karasjok, Norway.
2010 Grafikenshus Mariefred , Sweden.
2010 The Swedish Government, Stockholm, Sweden.
2010 Samiska veckan, Lilla Galleriet Umeå, Sweden.
2009 Stockholm City planning office, Sweden.
2006 Lidingö Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden.
2005 SGI User Group Conference Munich, Germany.
2004 Gallery Artn, Chicago Art Instititute, Chicago, USA. 2001 Grafikenshus Mariefred, Sweden.
1995 Ö-vik konsthall, Örnsköldsvik, Sweden.
1994 Gallery Hana-saari, Helsinki, Finland.

Selected group exhibitions:
2014 20 sept – 2 nov: Grafiktriennalen Uppsala konstmuseum
2014 28 june – 30 july: Agueli museet, Sala, Sweden
2014 18 june – 28 aug: Sami Contemporay, Norrbottens Museum Luleå
2014 12 april- maj “Markanvändning”, Västerbottens museum, Umeå
2014 4-6 april New York Art Expo Pier 94 Manhattan
2014 7 mars – april Rovaniemi Art Museum – Korundi Finland
29/9 2013 – 19/1 2014 Greetings from Sapmi –Jamtli Östersund
2013 12- 30 nov South Karelen gallery Vilmastrand Finland
2013 7-9 june: Louvre, Paris, France
2013 “Markanvändning”, SDG, Karasjok, Norway
2013 Reflexioner, Lidköpings konsthall, Sweden
2013 Urfolkskonfrensen, Alta, Norway
2013 15 juni-29 juli “Reflexioner” Lidköping konsthall, Sweden
2013 “REFLEX”, Konsthallen, Luleå, Sweden
2013 “Markanvändning”,Norrbottens museum Luleå, Sweden
2013 “REFLEX”, Karasjok, Norway
2013 “Markanvändning”, Ajtte Museum in Jokkmokk the Sami centre, Sweden.
2012 “Moon lust” Augmented reality art exhibition. Chicago, U.S.
2012 “Out of the Box” Augmented reality art exhibition. San Francisco, U.S.
2011 The Baltic States Biennial of Graphic Arts. Kaliningrad, Russia.
2011 Norske grafiker, Oslo, Norway.
2009 PART5 Munsterland festival, Kulturhaus Bocholt, Germany., Sweden.
2008 Grafikenshus Mariefred.
2006 University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, USA.
2003 Stockholm Art Fair Sollentuna, Sweden. Special invited exhibition
2001 NIC2001 Nordic Interaktive Copenhagen, Denmark.
2000 Millenniumexhibition Tekniska museeum Stockholm, Sweden.
1998 Kulture Capital exhibition Stockholm, Sweden.