Welcome Nermine El Ansari

We warmly welcome artist Nerime El Ansari to Skaftfell’s residency. During her six-week residency from October 15 to November 30, El Ansari will work on her project ‘Dreams in Exile’ culminating in an exhibition in the Skaftfell Gallery.

In Dreams in Exile, the Egyptian artist Nermine El Ansari explores ways to give new forms of visual expression to ideas of displacement and exile. It looks at the emotional labyrinth experienced by foreigners living in faraway lands to seek a deeper understanding of isolation and the eternal search for a place to truly belong. 

The project is inspired by El Ansari´s personal experiences going through multiple relocations since childhood. Inspiration is also drawn from those asylum seekers who sought refuge in Iceland, whose stories she has borne witness to since 2015, as an interpreter at both an LGBTQ organization in Reykjavik and at the government immigration office. The asylum seekers‘ stories echo throughout her work: the intense rupture brought about by separating from one‘s homeland, and the memories—set against a new, unfamiliar land—of home: the places, language, scents, sounds, weather, and voices that occupy the mind when longing for home. The feeling of isolation and the complexities of yearning for a place to belong, serve as a reminder that displacement is a universal human experience that transcends borders. 

Amidst this sea of loss and longing, dreams emerge as a beacon of hope. Dreams, like ethereal landscapes, have no boundaries. They transform into alternate realms that connect the broken fragments of identity, fostering a feeling of unity even in the face of exile. In creating an imaginary scenery crossing geographical and emotional borders, Nermine aims to cultivate understanding and empathy, reminding us that belonging is a shared human quest.