Tomas Colbengtson, born 1957, is Sámi. He grew up in the small village of Björkvattnet near Tärnaby, Sweden, just south of the Arctic Circle. In his artwork, he asks how the colonial heritage has changed Indigenous lives and landscapes of the Sámi and other Indigenous Peoples. Colbengtson struggles to revitalize his mother tongue, the South Sámi language. He works with visual art, using Sámi history and collective memory as the source of his art.
He is continuously experimenting with new forms of media and materials, from overlay glass and metal printing to etching and digital art forms. This way, he seeks to assemble a language to formulate loss and colonial oppression and to revive and revitalize Sámi identity.
Colbengtson has been working as an artist since 1991 and as an Indigenous curator since 2016. He is the initiator of one of the first art residences for Indigenous artists, Sápmi Salasta / Sápmi Embraces. He is represented in many public collections, including the National Museum of Oslo, The British Museum, the Public Art Agency Sweden, KORO – Public Art Agency of Norway, the Saemien Sijte-South Sámi Museum and Sámidiggi, the Sámi Parliament of Norway.