Yesterday I found myself sitting in the shuttle bus looking out the window at whiteness. I turned to see my husband wipe the condensation off his side of the window to see better, but it remained as it was before. White. As I sat blindly gazing out at this alien world of white rushing past my window I was reminded of our arrival a month ago. It was snowing heavily and it was difficult to distinguish anything apart from swirling snow mounds of snow and blowing snow. This journey felt like being blindfolded and brought to a hidden and secret place so you don’t know how you got there. But instead of being blindfolded by darkness, we were blinded by whiteness. It’s about a half hour drive from Skagaströnd to the town of Blönduós, where the main bus stops that goes to and from Reykjavik. I have absolutely no clue what the landscape looks like between these two places. Not on the way there. Not on the way back. Somehow this makes me strangely happy.
It has been a full last week at the residency. This past Sunday was the January 2020 Opid Hus (Open House). It was a wonderful event and many local people came out for it. I had some lovely conversations with people about the work and about living in northern Iceland. One gentleman asked me an interesting question, “But what is it about whales that make people connect with them? Why not other animals? People don’t feel the same way about fish that they do about whales.” I guess this isn’t really something that I have thought much about before. Why whales? I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this question. I think there are many answers, but I think that people are drawn to things we can empathise with, things we reflect ourselves into, common struggles and successes, etc. Whales are mammals, like us. Whales breath air, like us. They generally have one baby at a time and their life cycles are very similar to human life cycles. They are intelligent and learn, they pass along information and have strong family bonds. Whales grieve their losses and seek to develop relational bonds. I think it is going to be different for every person that answers this question. But for me, it also has to do with knowing about something. They more I know, the more I connect. This is why I create art about these amazing animals. Sorry for the tangent. The Open House was lovely! I have some images below of some of the other artist’s in their spaces and my studio space at the end.
Images from the Opid Hus
I was also asked if I would like to give a drawing class to a girl from the town. I was happy to be asked and enjoyed putting together some drawing projects. One of the artists at the residency came with her daughter and so I extended the invite to her as well. It was such an enjoyable afternoon. The young women were so dedicated to their art and it was a pleasure to be creative together. This was a real highlight for me and I am I had the opportunity to do this.
I traveled back south to Reykjavik with 6 of the other residents and 1 resident traveled north. We said good bye at the Blönduós bus stop and headed in opposite directions. Artist Katya Kan (Kazakhstan) traveled to Akureyri where she and I have an exhibition at the Art Ak Gallery this weekend! =) The perfect way to end my time here in Iceland.