Seydisfjordur`s Circle of Mountains

The artist Garðar Eymundsson opens a new exhibition in Skaftfell – Center for Visual art, Saturday 28th November at 17:00

For the last fifteen months Garðar Eymundsson has been drawing the circle of mountains surrounding Seyðisfjörður. To achieve this he has been lying outside for days on end, catching the silhouette of the mountains and sketching their profiles. He continued his work on the drawings in his studio, with his pair of eyes and a pencil. Garðar also made a sett of silhouette drawings of the mountain circle with the toponyms of all the mountains and their tops and peaks. For that task he enjoyed the trustworthy and loyal assistance of Vilhjálmur Hjálmarsson from Brekka in Mjóifjörður, but the latter also made a directory of toponyms with site descriptions.

This extensive work is now displayed in Skaftfell – Centre of Visual Art. Skaftfell is truly honoured to present this exhibition to the public, but Garðar is a significant figure in Skaftfell´s history whereas he used to own the building. He and his wife, Karólína Þorsteinsdóttir, donated the house for the purpose of creating an art-center. Their generosity will never be thanked to its full extent.

The exhibition will be open until January 31, 2010

In context with the exhibition Skaftfell and the Dieter Roth publication have published a stunning bookwork with the drawings in 50:1 scale. The book is published in 100 signed and numbered copies and can be bought at Skaftfell.

Curated by Björn Roth and Finnur Arnar


Garðar Eymundsson was born in a house named Baldurshagi in Seyðisfjörður during the summer of 1926. He grew up with his four siblings in a secure working class home. His father, Eymundur Ingvarsson from Grímsey, had a small fishing boat and was deeply involved in the labour union struggle. His mother Sigurborg Gunnarsdóttir, from nearby Hérað was a talented artistic woman. As usual at the time, Garðar’s formal education began when he was 9 years old. Fortunately, he was given good tuition from the start and was already drawing and painting very acceptable pictures at the age of ten. At twelve he got a gun and began hunting birds to do his share in providing for the family and thus became intimately acquainted with nature. At 13 he left home for the fist time and worked as a farm-hand on the nearby ޞórarinstaðir farm. After that he would take any occasional jobs that came along, – on the docks and in the fisheries and at the age of 16 he went to Hornafjörður with the Seyðisfjordian fishing boat Valþór for the winter fishing season. He took his fist steps in carpentry tutored by boat-builder Niel Hólm Petersen in Seyðisfjörður. At the age of twenty he stepped onto the bus to Reykjaví­k. Arriving there he bought himself some good  paints and canvas and started painting. He considered becoming an artist but was averted by the life-style of the masters and decide to start out as a carpenter. During his apprenticeship he painted alongside and all of his works were immediately snatched up. He married Karólína ޞorsteinsdóttir in 1949 and they moved back to Seyðisfjörður in 1951 where they have been living mostly since. They have four children together and Garðar has one older son. Garðar ran an extensive woodworking company for many years, building more houses than can be mentioned here and manufacturing all woodwork for the 34 steel ships built in Seyðisfjörður between 1968 and 1991. Garðar has always painted alongside his other work and kept his artistic gift alive and kicking.  At the age of 78 he quit the woodwork and has had his own art studio and gallery since. Numerous artisans have enjoyed his guidance, carpenters and visual artists alike, including many students of The Iceland Academy of the Arts. He himself is proudest of the Skaftell Cultural Centre in Seyðisfjörður. He and Karólína presented the house as a gift to the cultural life of Seyðisfjörður in 1996 and have been pushing and pulling since.