Saga Artist Residency
2018 - Eyrarbakki, Iceland
One thing I remember most is that I wanted to remember everything.
From the moment I stepped off of the plane, everything was interesting. The people, the places, the signs, the sounds… I found myself overwhelmed with how to be present, while also trying to remember the feelings and thoughts along the way. I can’t ever figure out a good way to begin a new notebook, so I started drawing on the cover. I began creating a symbol for everything I wanted to remember along the way.
To me, Saga Artist Residency was an invitation into connection; connection with the other artists, to a small fishing village in Iceland (called Eyrarbakki), to the youth and elders of the village as well as a connection to their history as a village. From the start,
it was my mission to connect to everyone and everything around me by staying in the moment, listening to stories, exploring and soaking up as much knowledge as people would give.
I met as many people as I could and explored every corner of the town, creating symbols and taking notes along the way. I was welcomed into an art studio, a couple schools, an organ-maker's workshop, a home for the elderly, a band practice and the homes of several families.
The Residency was focussed on the journey to a piece, as opposed to a final product. We were constantly encouraged to trust the process, and to go deeper into connection, in many different ways. As artists, we worked alongside one another and encouraged each other as we created our individual or collective works.
We said nice things to each other (and took notes), we climbed on rooftops, we did exercises to help us let go, we collaborated, we played with our food, and we went on the most epic silent hike of all time.
At the end of the residency, we were asked to create a piece to leave with the town. Each artist created amazing pieces: Live performances, an illuminated ice cave, an empathetic and bold prison action, fresh seaweed tea, soundscapes in a creepy abandoned house, an original song and a collective poetry piece.
I created a mural.
The piece is a topographical map of the town, and it is comprised out of the story-based symbols I created during my stay. Each symbol is placed on the map according to it’s location in town. The symbols represent a variety of things, from a deeply vulnerable story shared by an elderly man to a symbol drawn by a student at the local middle-school.
The title “Frásagnir frá Eyrarbakka” translates to “Sagas from Eyrarbakki” or “Stories from Eyrarbakki.”