To Thrive in Chaos: A Conversation with Joanna Pawlowska

Iceland’s art scene is vast, diverse, and thriving. One such artist is Joanna Pawlowska who, apart from their provocative and intriguing installation pieces, also curates the Hamraborg Art Festival. This festival not only strives to provide a platform for Iceland’s more marginalised artists, but also to bring art directly to the general public.

In this episode of Deep North, we sit down with Joanna Pawlowska to talk about art, queerness, horses, and the Hamraborg Art Festival.

You can read a full-length article about the artist here.

To Thrive in Chaos

Entering Gallerí Kannski for the Brokat Films exhibition Horseplay, the very first thing that greets you is the smell of fresh hay. Round the corner to the exhibition space itself, and you immediately see why: the entire space, about the size of a modest living room, is covered in it.Next, it’s the music. A pounding, […]

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The Heath

seyðisfjörður jessica auer

Jessica Auer is a Canadian photographer and filmmaker. Through her work, she examines our social, political, and aesthetic attitudes towards places, including historical sites, tourist destinations, and small communities. Jessica received her MFA from Concordia University in Montréal, where she teaches part-time. While in Iceland, Jessica runs Ströndin Studio, an educational and experimental centre for […]

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The Best Museums in North Iceland

Akureyri Iceland

Why should you pay a visit to the museums in North Iceland? What can you learn about the history of this spectacular region? Let’s read more about some of North Iceland’s most prestigious museums.

Given that Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavík, is where most visitors will begin their journey, it is completely understandable that North Iceland is less visited than the south. 

In some respects, this is a shame, while in others, it maintains the north’s secretive majesty. But however you look at it, the region is well-worth exploring. 

 

Closer to the Arctic Circle than any other part of the country, the landscape is known to be wild, mountainous, with deep fjords and stretching peninsulas. Unsurprisingly, this stunning place is a favourite amongst those who enjoy sightseeing, as well as breathtaking wildlife tours. 

Aside from the gravitas and splendour of its nature, the north is a domain rich in culture and history. Its people are proud of their place in the world – not to mention the distinction they hold amongst fellow Icelanders – and they are eager to share as much with visitors. 

You’ll discover so much fascinating information to learn about this amazing place in the region’s many museums, so make sure to break up the sightseeing by shifting your attention to some cultural highlights. 

Akureyri Museum

A historic photo of Akureyri
Photo: Minjasafnið á Akureyri / Akureyri Museum

For those looking for a comprehensive introduction to the North’s history, Akureyri Museum should be your first stop. Two permanent exhibitions – Eyjafjorður from Early Times and Akureyri: the Town on the Bay – display artefacts related to the history of the north’s two major settlements, including those from the Viking period and the Middle Ages. 

With information boards in English, Danish, and German, you will find their litany of facts highly accessible, allowing you to gain deeper insights into this most fascinating of regions. 

Akureyri Museum also operates a number of other establishments, including the likes of Nonni House, Museum Church & Garden, Akureyri Toy Museum, Davíðshús (Davíð Stefánson’s writers museum) and Laufás heritage site. Actually, Laufás is especially worthy of an extra note – it is a beautiful farmstead that perfectly captures how rural Icelanders once lived in the area. 

Address: Aðalstræti 58, 600 Akureyri

Opening Hours: 11:00 – 17:00 1. June – 30. September 

13:00 – 16:00 1. October – 31. May

The Icelandic Aviation Museum

Flight in Iceland
Photo: Photo: Flugsafn Íslands – The Icelandic Aviation Museum

Iceland does not have a military; no Army, no Navy (aside from their Coast Guard), and – most importantly in this context – no Air Force. 

Still, this small island does have a complex and fascinating history of aviation, especially in regards to their arduous but successful development of commercial airlines. 

Founded May 1 1999, Flugsafn Íslands, or the Icelandic Aviation Museum, is located in a hangar at Akureyri Airport. The museum was established due to a lack of hangar space at the airport, with many of them filled with older planes that were no longer in use. These aircraft were then moved to be permanently displayed in an exhibition that would detail how Icelanders first took flight. 

Inside, you will find aerial machines of all kinds, from old bi-planes to gliders, and even smaller models that hang decoratively from the ceiling. Each has an important place in this fascinating story – a tale that began in 1919 with the creation of the first Icelandic airline, to the powerful passenger jets and rescue helicopters that make up this nation’s air-fleet today. 

Flying over Iceland
Photo: Flugsafn Íslands – The Icelandic Aviation Museum

But it’s not all just reading and observing stationary aircraft. 

Visitors can actually look around inside the Coast Guard plane, TF-SYN, gaining a deeper insight into the inner-mechanics of such incredible works of engineering, and even see some of the aircraft in action during the museum’s exciting flight day, held each year in June. 

Address: Akureyri International Airport, 600 Akureyri 

Opening Hours: May 15th to Sept 15th: Open daily 11:00-17:00

Sept 16th to May 14th: Saturdays 13:00-16:00

Ystafell Transportation Museum

Cars at Ystafell Transportation Museum
Photo: Ystafell Transportation Museum

In 1998, married-couple Ingólfur Kristjánsson and Kristbjörg Jónsdóttir founded the Ystafell Transportation Museum, a natural extension of Ingólfur’s semi-compulsive collecting of mechanical parts. 

In fact, many guests attest that the reason as to why visiting is so memorable comes down to Ingólfur’s passion, dedication, and knowledge of the fascinating machines on display.  

Not only does the museum display the largest collections of automobiles in the country, but also many transportation types other than cars, including tractors, aircraft, or snowmobiles. 

Address: Ystafell III, Norðausturvegur, 641 Húsavík

Opening Hours: May 25th ­- Sept 25th: 11:00 -­ 18:00 

The Herring Era Museum

fishing in Iceland
Photo: Golli. A fishing boat in Iceland

Plans to open a heritage museum in Siglufjörður date back all the way to 1957, when newly elected town-council members recognised the need to preserve equipment, artefacts, and photographs related to the local fishing industry. It was not until 1989 that the Herring Era Museum finally opened its doors, allowing visitors the chance to learn more about why fishing – and fishing Herring, particularly – was so important to the town’s development. 

Renovations continued over the next decades, transforming an old fishermen’s shed, Róaldsbrakki, into a bonafide exhibition space, complete with a boat house and two large museum buildings. Today, it attracts over 30,000 visitors a year, as well as hosts countless events, including art shows and music festivals.

As is the case with so many islands, the Icelandic nation is built on fishing. Herring was once called ‘the silver of the sea,’ and is, to this day, considered to be one of the founding pillars of Icelandic society. This is because Iceland’s herring fishing took off at a time when much of the world was experiencing a financial depression, and thus it played a huge role in securing Iceland’s economic independence and stability. 

In fact, one could go as far as to say that the importance of Herring was among the major drives behind Iceland breaking away from Denmark in 1944. 

No other place in Iceland was so influenced by what’s known as the Herring Adventure than Siglufjörður. However, countless other towns developed primarily due to the hunting down and catching of this common fish species, including Dalvík, Akureyri, Seyðisfjörður, and many others. 

Address: Snorragata 10, 580 Siglufjörður

Opening Hours: June – August: 10:00-18:00

May – Sept: 13:00-17:00

Akureyri Art Museum

Akureyri Art Museum is one of the top museums in North Iceland
Photo: Golli. Exhibition at the Akureyri Art Museum

Akureyri Art Museum has a revolving door of exhibitions, showcasing a wide range of creative disciplines from watercolour paintings to contemporary art and even scenography. In short, it is one of the best places in the country to appreciate just how diverse Icelandic artists can be. Each Thursday, a guided tour in English allows visitors the chance to gain some insider knowledge about the artworks on display. 

The museum itself is designed in the Bauhaus-style of architecture, making it immediately noticeable when walking through Iceland’s second-largest city. Its stand-out appearance is quite notable given the building used to be home to a simple dairy. 

Akureyri Art Museum is also responsible for the A! Performance Festival, held in October each year. This fun and unique event draws in eclectic visual artists and weird, experimental theatre-projects of all kinds, transforming the city streets into a bohemian wonderland for a few days in the month. Aside from that, it also hosts the Iceland Visual Arts Awards, having done so since 2006. 

Address: Kaupvangsstræti 8-12, 600 Akureyri

Opening Hours: June – August: 10:00 – 17:00

Sept – May: 12:00 – 17:00

Safnasafnið – The Icelandic Folk and Outsider Art Museum

Safnasafnid
Photo: Daniel Starrason. Safnasafnið

The Icelandic Folk and Outsider Art Museum might be described as a true artist’s museum.

That is because this establishment – founded in 1995 by Níels Hafstein and Magnhildur Sigurðardóttir – displays work by creatives who have, for one reason or another, have been classified as working outside of the mainstream. 

Therefore, guests can expect to see not only the work of professional artists, but also that of amateurs and autodidacts.

Photo: Safnasafnið

Such a strange, diverse array of collected pieces adds a real sense of unexpectedness and curiosity to visiting here, as well as allows for a deeper glimpse into the often peculiar minds of Icelandic creators. 

Address: Hverfisgata 15, Hverfisgata 15, 101 Reykjavík

Opening Hours: May – Sept: 10:00 – 17:00 

The Museum of Prophecies

 

 

Þórdís the fortune-teller is the unlikely star of this strange and otherworldly museum in Skagaströnd. She was the first inhabitant of the region, and it was claimed she was a magic-woman, of sorts, capable of reading the future and unafraid of starting feuds with the settlers who came after her. In other words, Þórdís was a truly independent spirit, so revered in her time that she had a mountain – Spákonufell – named after her. 

Visitors to the Museum of Prophecies will learn about Þórdís’ life story, as well as the role that fortune-telling has played in Icelandic culture over the centuries. Aside from that, they can also have their own fortunes told as part of an informative guided tour.  

Built within a former army barracks, the museum is not large by any means. Still, it boasts incredible replicas of old Icelandic homes and famous people from folktales, and also has a decent gift shop which sells local handicrafts and a small cafe to purchase refreshments.   

Address: Oddagata 6, 545 Skagaströnd

Opening Hours: June – Sept:  13:00 – 18:00

In Summary 

Two people walking along Akureyri coastal path.
Photo: María H. Tryggvadóttir. Two people walking along Akureyri coastal path.

Those in the North should take time to step away from appreciating the spectacular surrounding nature to take-in the history and artwork that help make the region what it is. 

Given the breadth of cultural establishments one can explore, there is simply no other way to get a full sense of why it remains one of the most enticing and fascinating parts of the country. 

Museums in Reykjavík | Your Guide

Perlan at sunset

Which museums can be visited in Reykjavík, and what kind of exhibitions do they display? What are the opening hours, and how much are the admission fees? These questions will be answered ahead, so read on to learn more about visiting museums in Iceland’s vibrant capital city. 

Iceland has a rich, varied history, starting with Norse settlers who arrived in the 9th century.

To become the modern democratic republic we know and love today, a long series of events have shaped this island’s geology, and culture, including disruptive volcanic eruptions, military occupations, and artistic movements.

Walking through Photo: Golli. Árbær Open Air Museum
Photo: Golli. Guests at the Árbær Open Air Museum

There is no better way of learning more about Iceland’s history than by visiting the different kinds of museums in Reykjavík, the capital city.

Not only does it offer a healthy dose of intellectual curiosity, but it helps to break up the seemingly endless sightseeing in Iceland’s nature. 

Perlan Museum and Observation Deck

A rainbow over Perlan, one of the museums in Reykjavík
Photo: Golli. A rainbow over Perlan Museum and Observation Deck

Those who have spent any time exploring Reykjavík will have noticed a forested hillside outside of the downtown area. This area is named Öskjuhlíð; from its treeline, a distinctive dome peeks out. It is as much a part of the city skyline as Hallgrimskirja or Harpa Concert Hall, but not everyone is aware of its true purpose, nor what lies in wait there for those who take the time to visit.  

What was once the city’s water treatment centre has since been converted to the beloved visitors attraction, Perlan Museum and Observation Deck. This fun and interactive exhibition space is a great location for adults and children alike to learn more about Iceland’s amazing nature in a simulated and entertaining way. 

 

Inside are many recreated scenes from around Iceland, including an ice tunnel and a huge model of the Látrabjarg bird-cliffs. There are also cinematic shows focused on the Northern Lights and the Geldingadalir volcanic eruption. Plus, there is an informative exhibition about the importance of water in Iceland, complete with a virtual aquarium.

On top of the four huge water tanks that surround Perlan’s dome sits a beautiful observation deck, allowing for 360° views of Reykjavík and its bordering nature. When you’ve finished appreciating the views, you can stop by the various amenities on offer, including a restaurant and bar, a gift shop, and even an ice cream parlour. 

Address: Öskjuhlíð, 105 Reykjavík

Contact: 566 9000

National Museum of Iceland (Þjóðminjasafn Íslands)

World War II soldiers in Iceland
Photo: National Museum of Iceland. WW2 soldiers in Iceland.

The National Museum of Iceland is the best place in the city to boost your knowledge about the history of this island. Established February 24 1863, the museum was founded as the Antiquarian Collection, taking on a wide array of historical objects that had, until then, been stored in Denmark. 

Its name was changed in 1911, long before the country gained its independence in 1944. Until then, the museum’s collection was stored in various attics across the city, and it was only when Iceland became a nation in its own right that a dedicated building was offered by the government. Today, the museum has been completely refurbished to meet modern standards.  

Their permanent exhibition traces Iceland’s timeline from the Viking era, all the way up to the modern day, allowing guests to journey through the centuries with a mix of informative display boards, photographs, and intriguing artefacts. There are around 2000 objects to look at and appreciate, some dating back to the Settlement Era

Address: Suðurgata 41, 102 Reykjavík

Contact: 530 2200

The Reykjavík Art Museum (Listasafn Reykjavíkur)

Hafnarhús art museum
Photo: Golli. Hafnarhús is one of the museums in Reykjavík

The Reykjavík Art Museum is housed in three separate buildings – Hafnarhús, Kjarvalsstaðir, and Ásmundarsafn, the former home of the Icelandic sculptor, Ásmundur Sveinsson.

Hafnarhús is located in downtown Reykjavík, near the scenic Old Harbour. Actually, this one of the museum’s buildings is a refurbished warehouse that was once used as part of Iceland’s fishing industry. 

The main draw here is that it is permanent home to the work of visual artist, Erró, who made great strides in the pop-art movement. Those arriving from Keflavik Airport will have already seen his work as a comic-style mosaic within the terminal. 

Aside from Erró’s work, Hafnarhús’ revolving exhibitions offers the chance to see pieces by other upcoming artists from Iceland, as well as purchase sophisticated souvenir pieces to brighten up your home.  

What other buildings make up the Reykjavík Art Museum

The second of the museum’s buildings, Kjarvalsstaðir, can be found in Klambratún Park. Klambratún is a lovely green space often occupied by dog walkers and frisbee-golfers. This was the first building in Iceland designed specifically to display artworks. In fact, it is built in the style of Nordic Modernism. 

Host to modern art and sculpture, Kjarvalsstaðir is named after Jóhannes S. Kjarval, one of Iceland’s most influential and eccentric artists. Born in poverty, he rised to great heights in Icelandic society as a painter of many broad styles, including the likes of Expressionism, Impressionism, and Cubism. In fact, he was so revered in his time that he was awarded Iceland’s highest honour – the Order of the Falcon – but as a true outsider, he declined to accept it. Today, he is memorialised on the 2000 krona note.    

With its dome structure and slanting white walls, the final building belonging to the Reykjavík Art Museum, Ásmundarsafn, is visually striking at first glance. This is no shock given that it is the former home of the prized Icelandic sculptor, Ásmundur Sveinsson, whose sometimes controversial impact on the world of sculpture can be seen in every detail of this fascinating place. 

The garden surrounding this futuristic, almost Mediterranean-style building is dotted with Sveinsson’s abstract creations. The inside displays more of his work alongside other contemporary artists who took inspiration from this great artist. Ásmundarsafn makes for a great stop while visiting other nearby attractions like Reykjavík botanical gardens and Reykjavík zoo.  

Address: Tryggvagata 17, 101 Reykjavík

Contact: 411 6400

The Saga Museum (Saga minjasafn)

Reykjavík statue
Photo: Golli. A statue in Reykjavík

The mediaeval sagas tell legends from the early Settlement Period in Iceland, but even English translations of these historic works can be challenging to understand. One way to make these stories more accessible is by visiting the Saga Museum, which helps history come to life. 

Here, they convey some of the greatest Icelandic characters and stories through the use of life-sized models, complete with traditional clothing and authentically replicated weapons and props. 

There are seventeen exhibitions on display, informing guests of events like the reformation and the black death, as well as allowing you to up close and personal with some of the most influential Icelanders who ever lived, such as the great writer Snorri Sturluson and the Viking explorer, Leif Erikson. 

Address: Grandagarður 2, 101 Reykjavík

Contact: 511 1517

Reykjavík City Museum (Reykjavíkurborgarsafn)

Dressing up at Árbær Open Air Museum
Photo: Golli. Árbær Open Air Museum

The Reykjavík City Museum hosts five separate exhibitions across Iceland’s capital, allowing you to hop from one to the other while taking in the picturesque urban sights along the way.

Outside of downtown is Arbaer Open-Air Museum, where many historical buildings have been either moved, or lovingly recreated, to show what life in Iceland was like in prior times. Then there is the Settlement Exhibition, which offers deep insights into how Reykjavík and its surrounding areas were first developed by the Norse settlers. 

The Reykjavík Maritime Museum is the go-to place to learn more about how Icelanders have lived by, and been defined by, their surrounding coastal waters. Here you will learn about the nation’s fishing industry, its coast guard, and the various species that live around this island. 

Reykjavík Old Harbour
Photo: Golli. Outside of Reykjavík Maritime Museum

Speaking of islands, The Reykjavík City Museum also owns the small but scenic Videy. This speck of land which can be seen from the shores of the city. There are many nature trails for you to enjoy on Videy, as well as Yoko Ono’s art exhibition, The Peace Tower. This installation is dedicated to the late-beatle, John Lennon. Ferries travel between Reykjavík and Videy every day, so long as the weather permits it. 

Finally, there is the Museum of Photography, documenting the history of this city, and this nation. Its collection exceeds approximately 6-million fascinating images. Some of its oldest photographs date back to 1860, offering a intriguing look at how Reykjavík looked in the past. 

Address: Aðalstræti 10, 101 Reykjavík

Contact: 411 6370

The Icelandic Phallological Museum (Hið Íslenska Reðasafn)

Animal organs on display at the Penis Museum
Photo: Penis Museum

Colloquially known as ‘The Penis Museum’, the Icelandic Phallological Museum is one of the only establishments in the world dedicated to the male genitalia. Whether you consider that a good thing or not is entirely down to personal preference.

Regardless of snickering, the fascination the male member draws from the public cannot be denied. Some might call the penis proud, others fearsome, but typically, amusing is the most common descriptor. Given the key rings, t-shirts, and phallic pasta noodles in the gift shop, one knows the museum is all too aware of this. 

Being good-humoured is one thing, but that’s the least of what’s on offer. For one, it is not just human-derived specimens the museum focuses on, but also those that once belonged to the many animal species found across Iceland. 

There is nothing obscene about the museum (except, perhaps, the gift shop.) Those scientifically inclined – and capable of keeping a straight face – will discover plenty to love in its exhibitions and displays. 

Address: Kalkofnsvegur 2, 101 Reykjavík, Ísland, 101 Reykjavík

Contact: 561 6663

The Northern Lights Center (Norðurljósasafnið)

Auroras above the trees
Photo: Golli. The auroras lighting up the trees!

One of the greatest allures during winter in Iceland is seeing the Northern Lights, sometimes known as the Aurora Borealis. As with any natural phenomena, there is no guarantee they will appear during your time here. Their visibility is highly dependent on cloud cover, solar activity, and light pollution in the area. 

If your chances of seeing them look slim, visit Aurora Reykjavík: the Northern Lights Centre in the Grandi neighbourhood. An interactive exhibition details the mythology and science behind the auroras. And a 7 m wide cinema displays awe-inspiring footage of the lights in action. 


But that’s not all. There are also entertaining, informative workshops dedicated to teaching you how best to photograph this wonder of nature. Finally, a photo-booth simulates the Northern Lights should they remain elusive during your stay. 

The gift shop allows you to purchase any number of aurora-inspired souvenirs, including high-quality prints, clothing, and ornaments. 

Address: Grandagarður 2, 101 Reykjavík

Contact: 780 4500

In Summary

What museums in Reykjavík can you visit?
Photo: Golli. Reykjavík at dusk.

With so much to see and do in Iceland, it is unlikely you will visit all the museums in Reykjavík.

In fact, unless your trip is purely orientated towards Iceland’s history, no one would advise it. There are a wealth of other activities and attractions on offer.

Still, exploring the capital’s museums will provide a greater insight into the culture and history of this enchanting country.  

The Imagine Peace Tower in Viðey, Iceland

The Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland

The Imagine Peace Tower is a light installation in Iceland designed by Yoko Ono in memory of her husband, John Lennon, and their continued campaign for world peace. The light projector comprises six light tunnels surrounded by slanted mirrors and nine beams with a combined power of 70kW. From the 10 m [33 ft] wide wishing well, the dense light beams are reflected up to 4,000 m [13,120 ft] in the air. The artwork is funded and maintained by Ono, Reykjavík City, Reykjavík Art Museum and Reykjavík Energy. It is sustainably powered using geothermal energy. Engraved in the tower’s mount is “Imagine Peace” in 24 languages, referencing Lennon’s song Imagine.

The artwork is directly related to another piece by Ono, Wish Tree, which has been ongoing since 1996. She invites people to write their wishes and hang them on branches of trees native to their country. The Wish Tree has since become digital. She collects the wishes herself, totalling over a million. The wishes are buried in the base of the Imagine Peace tower: the wishing well. The beam of light then symbolically illuminates the wishes up into the sky. You can send in your own wish here.

The Imagine Peace Tower’s lighting times

The tower was first lit in 2007 on John Lennon’s birthday, October 9th. Every year, it lights up on October 9th and shuts off on December 8th, the date of Lennon’s passing. In addition, it is lit from winter solstice until New Year’s Day and on Yoko Ono’s birthday, February 18th. Lastly, it lights up for one week during the spring equinox: the dates of Lennon and Ono’s wedding and honeymoon.

Why Iceland?

Iceland continues to hold the title of the most peaceful country, as ranked by The Global Peace Index. Therefore, Yoko Ono felt it was the right location for the Imagine Peace Tower. Ono has spent a lot of time in Iceland and was made an honorary citizen of Reykjavík in 2013.

Where is the Imagine Peace Tower?

The light installation is located in Viðey, a small island off the coast of Reykjavík. In the summer, ferries to Viðey are available daily from both Reykjavík harbour and the Skarfabakki pier in Laugarnes, Reykjavík. In the winter, the ferry only departs from Skarfabakki pier on Saturdays and Sundays. As of 2024, the price for the boat ride is ISK 2,100 [$15, €14] in the winter and 2,300 [$17, €15.50] in the summer. Guided tours of Viðey island and the Imagine Peace Tower are available year-round.

 

Artist on the Run

Sölvi helgason

October 1843. Staðarsveit farmstead in Snæfellsnes, West Iceland. It was early evening, and an odd yet highly entertaining young visitor had just finished regaling the appreciative farmhands with his witty remarks and amusing anecdotes. He clearly enjoyed telling them his tall tales as well as sharing his vivid descriptions of Iceland’s natural wonders and deadly […]

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Artist Stipends Awarded for 2024

The Icelandic Centre for Research (Rannís) has announced that artist stipends for 2024 have been allocated.

9,336 Months of Salary Applied For

There were some 1,600 months of salary to be allocated for 2024, representing 6 different funds for designers, visual artists, writers, performing artists, musical performers and composers.

Applications to the fund totaled 1,032, including 924 individuals and 108 performing arts groups. In total, 9,336 months of artist stipends were applied for.

Salaries from the 2023 fund were ISK 507,500 [$3,600, €3,400]. The amount of the monthly payments in 2024 will be announced after the coming year’s budget is approved by Alþingi.

Below is a selection of some of this year’s recipients.

Designers

  • Anita Hirlekar
  • Anna María Bogadottir
  • Eygló Margrét Lárusdóttir
  • Sólveig Dóra Hansdóttir

Visual artists

  • Arna Óttarsdóttir
  • Gustav Geir Bollason
  • Haraldur Jonsson
  • Hildigunn Birgisdóttir
  • Katrín Sigurðardóttir
  • Melanie Ubaldo
  • Peter Thomsen
  • Sigríður Björg Sigurðardóttir
  • Sigurður Guðjónsson
  • Steinunn Marta Önnudóttir

Writers

  • Bragi Ólafsson
  • Eiríkur Örn Norddahl
  • Done by Kristný Guðjónsdóttir
  • Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir
  • Gunnar Helgason
  • Hallgrímur Helgason
  • Hildur Knútsdóttir
  • Jón Kalman Stefánsson
  • Kristin Eiríksdóttir
  • Kristin Ómarsdóttir
  • Steinar Bragi Guðmundsson
  • Þórdís Gísladóttir

Performing artists

  • Bjarni Jonsson
  • Gígja Jónsdóttir
  • Tyrfingur Tyrfingsson

Musicians

  • Elfa Rún Kristinsdóttir
  • Hallveig Rúnarsdóttir
  • Eva Þyri Hilmarsdóttir
  • Guðbjörg Hlín Guðmundsdóttir

Composers

  • María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir
  • Skúli Sverrisson
  • Veronique Jacques

See the full list of recipients here.

The Artists’ Salary Fund

The Artists’ Salary Fund is a collection of funds meant to support the arts. Funding is determined annually by Alþingi and The Icelandic Centre for Research is responsible for managing the fund on behalf of The Ministry of Culture and Business Affairs.

See last year’s artist stipends here.

Words With Friends

poetry night reykjavík

On a late-August Wednesday in Reykjavík, it’s bright and still, but there’s a noticeable fall chill in the air. As locals return from summer vacation, the cultural calendar kicks into gear and there’s no shortage of events to distract one from the impending darkness: concerts, stand-up comedy, theatre, opera, burlesque… But on this particular late-August […]

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Plans to 3D-Scan Historical Sculpture

sigurjón ólafsson

Experts are planning to attempt to recreate Saltfiskstöflun, “Stacking Saltfish,” by Sigurjón Ólafsson. RÚV reports.

Sigurjón Ólafsson, born 1908, was a significant figure in Icelandic art history, working in both abstract and realistic forms. The original, which is now in poor condition, was the sculptor’s largest-ever work at the time of its creation.

The artwork has stood in the Mariner School’s courtyard for 70 years. The piece was a tribute to Icelandic women who worked in fish processing and it was considered unconventional and radical at the time.

The government purchased the work from Sigurjón in 1946, and it was cast and installed in 1953. Maintenance and care are the responsibility of Reykjavik City.

Birgitta Spur, Sigurjón’s widow and founder of the Sigurjón Ólafsson Art Museum (LSÓ), stated to RÚV: “I believe it is the last resort to try and obtain a 3D scan of the artwork for preservation. It seems its lifetime is over,” says Birgitta.

Experts who have evaluated the artwork agree that it is in poor condition and cannot be salvaged as it is.

Currently, the plan is to make a plastic mould from a 3D scan. A new sculpture will then be cast from the mould. Experts estimate that the entire project could take seven to eight months to complete.