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Newsletter & Season’s greetings 2021

As the year is coming to an end we are looking back at Skaftfell’s main projects in those rather unusual twelve months:


After the landslide disaster in December, our time in January was mostly spent cleaning mud and assessing the damage to our premises on Austurvegur 42. Fortunately, they were not badly affected, but various things needed repair. In April, those repairs and other urgent maintenance of the house were carried out: Old timber was replaced on the outdoor stairs, a new beer garden platform was laid, masonry repairs were carried out, drainage was improved, all exterior doors were repaired and painted, broken windows were fixed, and corrugated iron and wooden window frames on the back of the house were replaced. In the autumn, a major project has been underway to lay a drain behind the house to reduce frequent leaks into the basement. The artist apartment on Skaftfell’s top floor is getting a make-over in December. It is hoped that the roof will be painted next year, and our aim is to build a proper wheelchair access into the gallery through the fire exit door on the East side.


The exhibition program in 2021 presented a chain of very different artists, giving an impression of the wide spectrum of contemporary art in Iceland:

Þór Vigfússon. Feb 12 – Apr 25

Pétur Kristjánsson, Tinkering ideas. Jun 17 – Sep 5

Anna Júlía Friðbjörnsdóttir and Karlotta Blöndal, Slóð. Sep 25 – Nov 21

Ragnheiður Káradóttir and Sara Gillies, Wonky, warped, wavy. Nov 27, 2021 – Jan 30, 2022











The artists exhibiting on the West Wall in Skaftfell’s bistro were: Raphael Vázquez, Svandís Egilsdóttir, Anna Margrét Ólafsdóttir, Magdalena Noga, and Tóti Ripper.

Participation in Sequences art festival: Anna Margrét Ólafsdóttir offered the participatory project “Romanticism researched” in Seyðisfjörður during the festival week in October, which culminated in the event “Samdrykkja” in Herðubreið.


Due to the pandemic and the landslides, only six artists were able to join the residency program this year: Anna Vaivare (LV), Arlene Tucker (US/TW/FI), Vytautas Michelkevicius (LT), Eva Beierheimer (AT/SE), Samuel Brzeski (UK/NO), and Aude Robert (FR).

For two of the artists, Anna Vaivare and Arlene Tucker, Skaftfell was able to provide a grant, courtesy of Nordic Baltic Mobility Programme (Nordic Culture Point). Their residencies were very productive: Anna painted a mural on one of the houses in Norðurgata, exhibited her drawings in the swimming pool and produced a poster with drawings of the houses that were destroyed in the landslides, titled “In memoriam”. The poster is now for sale in Skaftfell’s store. Arlene contributed to the Children’s Festival BRAS, offering students at the High School in Egilsstaðir to participate in her project “Translation is dialog”. In addition she introduced her ongoing international pen pal project “Dear You” to two groups of students at the Seyðisfjörður School. Using various artistic media the students interacted by mail with school groups in Ukraine and Finland throughout the autumn term. With their teachers they explored the idea of using art as wordless communication tool across borders and cultures.

The coming year will again bring a higher number of guest artists to Seyðisfjörður. With a fully booked schedule we are looking forward to welcoming 18 international artists in 2022. They will be living and working in the Skaftfell apartment (top floor), in Kálfatjörn (Vesturvegur 13), and Steinholt (Austurvegur).


Skaftfell developed its 13th art education project in 2021, “Skeyti til náttúrunnar”, which traveled to all schools in East Iceland as well as to the primary schools in Þórshöfn, Raufarhöfn and Öxarfjörður as part of the Children’s Festival BRAS. Skaftfell was a member of the BRAS steering committee. In the context of the festival Skaftfell mediated for Arlene Tucker’s projects “Translation is dialog” and “Dear you”, mentioned above. In October, Skaftfell acted as an intermediary for the art workshop “Stamp animals” in collaboration with AM publishing house.


In May 2021 Skaftfell initiated a project to rebuild the Technical Museum’s printmaking workshop, which was completely destroyed in the landslides. In close collaboration with Lunga School, the Technical Museum of East Iceland, Heima artist collective and the artist and printmaker Linus Lohmann we applied for the Incentive Fund, which is specifically intended for development and job creation in Seyðisfjörður. We received 3 million ISK, enabling us to collectively rebuild this important workspace and teaching facility for local and visiting artists and students. We believe that the new print workshop will be useful for all artistic initiatives in the town, create job opportunities, and promote the artistic image of Seyðisfjörður. Following some difficulties with finding a space to house the workshop, an opportunity finally arose in November in Öldugata 14. The project members are now busy constructing the workshop space on half of the ground floor of the building, right next door to Skaftfell’s office. We are hoping to open the first version of the new  Print Workshop in February 2022.


Skaftfell has entered a new international research project, the Nordic Alliance of Artists’ Residencies on Climate Action (NAARCA). The project was launched in November 2021 and will continue until the end of 2024. Initiated by Cove Park (Scotland) and Saari Residence (Finland), further participants are Artica Svalbard (Svalbard, Norway), Baltic Art Center (Visby, Sweden), Arctic Culture Lab (Ilulissat, Greenland), and Art Hub Copenhagen (Denmark). The project is funded by Kone Foundation and Nordic Culture Fund.

NAARCA’s intent is to build a network of Nordic/Arctic artist residencies that are ready to evaluate their future roles in the art world in the context of the unfolding climate crisis. Together, these institutions will research, test and evaluate new types of behaviour and new lifestyles in the specific environment of the artist residency, where private, professional and public life intertwine. Leading by example, the participants aim to educate through their own practice, through artistic production and its presentation, and through the generation and dissemination of new artistic and activist strategies facing the climate crisis. The project in this way envisions the institutions’ participation in shaping the cultural and political agenda on eco-sustainability locally, nationally and transnationally. In connection with the project, Skaftfell has recently applied for funding from Loftslagssjóður (Climate Fund) for conducting research into educational strategies on climate change in a rural context.


Skaftfell has two employees: Hanna Christel Sigurkarlsdóttir and Julia Martin. They share the directorship, as well as being project managers, with Hanna steering the educational program, and Julia the residency program and international projects. During the summer months we received very valuable help from our summer staff Ísold Gná Sigríðar Ingvadóttir and our intern Magdalena Noga. In the autumn Kamilla Gylfadóttir was hired as project assistant, handling all kinds of tasks in all departments. She will be with us at least until May 2022.


We wish everyone a joyful, peaceful holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year! Thank you for the good times and support!


Image credits (from the top): Julia Martin, Jessica Auer, Magdalena Noga, Jessica Auer, Nicolas Grabar, Jessica Auer