Tethered to a Polestar is another of Kvaal’s projects exploring a very different peripheral world that exists next to and within conventional Norwegian society. Tethered is an austere and intimate document of indigenous Scandinavians, the Sami or ‘Laplanders’, a name that the Sami people consider a pejorative. Kvaal’s careful and elegant photographs present sublime landscapes and lonely gas stations glowing in the night, Sami people in traditional dress and Christian altars carved in ice, running shoes hidden in tall grass and the ethereal Aurora Borealis snaking over a frozen tundra. The title of the project refers to the Sami belief in a sacred link between the Polestar (Polaris or the North Star) and the health of the people. This link props up the celestial dome and when broken, the stars will rain upon the earth bringing an end to life. Photography may be a relatively modern medium yet Kvaal is able to create a visual bond between the ancient and the contemporary, the concrete and they mythologic.
– Mark Durant