One of Skaftfell´s main benefactor’s, Garðar Eymundsson, recently passed away. Eymundsson and his wife Karólína Þorsteinsdóttir made a significant contribution to the establishment of Skaftfell Art Center when they donated the house on Austurvegur 42 to the Skaftfell Group back in 1996. Subsequently, the organisational development started with the aim of strengthening the cultural life of Seyðisfjörður. The first board was appointed in 1998 and the gallery was inaugurated one year later.
Exhibitions in the developing years included: Boekie Woekie in 1996, Exhibition for everything – in honour and memory of Dieter Roth in 1998, Bernd Koberling, Björn Roth & Dieter Roth in 1999.
In a newspaper interview with Garðar and his daughter Gréta published in 2000, they expressed their ambition to host international exhibitions, to develop a connection with the European art scene, to run a residency for artists and scholars and organize workshops for children and teenagers.
From a young age Eymundsson was very interested in art where he painted landscapes during his studies, which sold immediately. He painted alongside his carpentry career and in his senior years took time to pursue art full time. He ran a studio and gallery in Norðurgata for years and many students from the Icelandic Art Academy received guidance from him during the Seyðisfjörður workshop that started in 2001.
In 2009, Eymundsson opened the solo exhibition Seyðisfjörður´s Circle of Mountains in the Skaftfell gallery. On display were the results of a fifteen-month long work process were Eymundsson had mapped the entire mountainscape of Seyðisfjörður and drawn detailed pencil drawings of the landscape. In collaboration with Vilhjálmur Hjálmarsson from Mjóifjörður he also illustrated the mountain line and registered the names of the mountains and peaks. In connection with the exhibition, Skaftfell published an artist book of 100 copies with all the drawings and place names. The first print batch sold out quickly and shortly after the book was reprinted.
The contribution that Eymundsson and his family have made to the development of the cultural life in Seyðisfjörður is invaluable and has had a ripple effect with many seedlings. His documentation of the natural environment of Seyðisfjörður was a great achievement that generations to come will enjoy.
Photos: Nikolas Grabar