27—28 April

Maya Økland

Address: Bjørka, Schweigaardsgate 34 D, 0191 Oslo
Floor: 3
The studio is open Saturday 27 April from 12-17

My art revolves around the theme of identity and can be traced back to my experiences with the presence of various ethnicities in my biological heritage. Belonging to different cultures requires the ability to connect cultural, emotional, and geographical opposites without losing oneself. By studying feminist art, queer theory, and intersectionality, I have learned to let go of the surrounding’s need for categorization and instead navigate freely between identities and artistic expressions as it suits me.

My artistic practice has a breadth that, when combined, creates a whole. I work with analog documentary photography because of its enduring qualities, sober representation, and ability to function as a witness and proof of existence. My guiding principle is that fiction rarely surpasses reality. Nevertheless, I create vibrant watercolors inspired by the paintings of Hilma af Klint and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as by shamanism and Brazilian Candomblé, introducing a layer of spirituality and surrealism into my art. Additionally, there are political works in the form of activism, curatorial projects, happenings, performance, and experimentation with new forms of expression.

The importance of role models and visibility is also central. I engage with questions of representation and historiography, power perspectives, hierarchies, and who gets access to what by insisting on my participation, while it is equally important to grant access to others.

In short, I see my work as an exploration of the multifaceted nature of identity, and a constant reminder of the right to be authentically inconsistent.

Photography, installation, happenings, performance

Maya økland etter ana mendieta ii 2023
After Ana Mendieta II, Maya Økland, analog c-print, 2023
Maya økland hardanger 2022
Steinstø from the series Worried Landscapes, Maya Økland, analog c-print 70 x 80 cm, 2022
Maya økland etter marthe ramm fortun ii 2023
After Marthe Ramm Fortun II, Maya Økland, analog c-print, 2023
Dandara maya økland 2022 foto øystein thorvaldsen
Oshun da mi ó, Maya Økland, 129 watercolors 18 x 20 cm, 2022, installation view from Tenthaus Oslo. Photo: Øystein Thorvaldsen

In my studio

The studio collective Bjørka is a workshop for camera-based art and consists of fine art photographers working with analog and digital photography and video.

Planned projects and exhibitions

Østlandsutstillingen 2024

Worried Landscapes, photo book

Dandara, artist book


Maya Økland (b.1980, Bergen)


2003-2005 MFA Photography, Bergen National Academy of the Arts, Norway Spring 2004 Cleveland Institute of Art, OH, USA Fall 2002 Konstfack, Stockholm, Sweden 2000-2003 BFA Photography, Bergen National Academy of the Arts, Norway

Upcoming projects
2024 Østlandsutstillingen, juryed exhibition
2024 Workshop, Bergen
2024 Worried Landscapes, photobook
2024 Dandara, photobook

Solo shows and events
2023 Dandara, Open Out Festival, Tromsø
2023 Femidomen with Hilde Jørgensen and Marie Gurine Askeland, Nesodden
2022 Dandara, solo show curated by Tatiana Lozano, Tenthaus, Oslo
2018 Stranger in Motherland, solo show, Varbergs Konsthall, Sverige
2017 Book launch Entrée, Bergen; Rogaland Kunstsenter, Stavanger; Podium, Oslo
2008 I Recognize You, solo show, kjubh Kunstverein e.V., Köln
2008 Stranger in Motherland, solo show, Arendal Kunstforening, Arendal

Group shows
2023 SELF-ish, Oslo Negativ Photo Festival, Hos Arne Gallery, groupshow, Oslo
2023 Mother Nature on a Saturday Night, Flow Photofest, Scotland
2023 Halländska fotohistorier, samlingsutstilling, Hallands Konstmuseum
2023 Knipsu Fight Cage, Bergen
2022 Mother Nature on a Saturday Night, A Female Gaze, Oslo Negativ
2022 Tenthaus, Oslo Negativ
2021 First the Good News, Works from the collection, KODE Art Museum, Bergen
2021 Seid, Knipsu, Bergen
2021 Intimitet og nærhet, Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo
2020,21 Juleutstillingen, Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo
2020 Tenthaus for Sale, Oslo
2020 Juleutstillingen, Oppland Kunstsenter, Lillehammer
2019 Vårutstillingen, Fotogalleriet, Oslo
2018 Forbannelsen, Telemark Kunstsenter, Skien

Art collections
2023 Kunst på arbeidsplassen
2020 KODE Kunstmuseum, Bergen
2018 Hallands Konstmuseum, Halmstad, Sverige

2017 Maya Økland – Stranger in Motherland, photo book, Teknisk Industri,
ISBN 978-82-93281-20-7

Artist in Residency
2019 Kunstnarhuset Messen, Hardanger
2018 SíM Residency, Reykjavik

2023-24 Work grant 2 yrs, Statens Kunstnerstipend for fotografer, 2 år
2021 Bergesenstiftelsen
2021 KORO LOK midler, Kulturrådet og Fritt Ord, prosjektstøtte Benkene til Kim
2013,19,21,22 Billedkunstnernes vederlagsfond arbeidsstipend, 1 år
2017,20,21,22 Statens kunstnerstipend, diversestipend
2020 Statens Kunstnerstipend, ekstraordinære coronamidler
2020 Kulturrådet, prosjektstøtte Dandara dos Santos
2020 Oslo kommune, Diversestipend
2016,19,20,22 Fritt Ord prosjektstøtte
2016 Fond for lyd og bilde, publikasjonsstøtte
2016 Norsk Kulturråd publikasjonsstøtte
2014 Statens kunstnerstipend for yngre fotografer, 2 år
2014,19 Billedkunstnernes vederlagsfond prosjektstøtte

Memberships FFF, NBK, BO, BONO, Stiftelsen Bjørka

Boards Board member Kunstnernes Hus 2022–
Board member Skeiv Verden / Queer World 2021–
Board member Stiftelsen Bjørka 2020–

Awards and publicity
2023 Review of Knipsu Fight Cage, Billedkunst #2
2022 Mot monokulturdøden, Klassekampen 13. juni
2021 Leken maksimalisme på Minde, Bergens Tidende
2020 Kuratering kan gi en stemme til spørsmålene i vår tid, Kunst Pluss #3
2019 Vårutstillingen, Subjekt.no and Dagsavisen
2018 Forbannelsen, Kunstkritikk.no
2017 Årets beste kunstbøker domineres av kvinner, Dagsavisen
2016 Den eneste veien er frem, Kulturhuset i P2 and CAS
2015 Winner of Natt&Dag award Bergen Art of the Year (KNIPSU)
2014 The Pleasure of Negative Emotions, Kunstkritikk.no and Billedkunst
2013 Nominated to Natt&Dag award Bergen Art of the Year (100år!)
2012 Winner of Natt&Dag award Bergen Art of the Year (BYOB)
2011 KNIPSU, D2