As you probably know, some of the first settlers in Iceland were Vikings that migrated west across the Atlantic Ocean. I found it fascinating that many Icelanders can trace their lineage back many generations. It is a source of great pride to be able to chronicle their ancestral history. One of the first things that the owner of Happy Campers told us on the ride from the airport to his office was that his family was among the first generation of families that lived in Reykjavík (around the middle of the 18th century). He was honored to say that his family was one of the first city dwellers.
In any culture, art can be used to pay homage to the past. In my previous post, I mentioned that the statue of Leif Ericson commemorated the 1000 year anniversary of the Icelandic Parliament. This sculpture was commissioned to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the city of Reykjavík. Sculptor Jón Gunnar titled it Sólfar or Sun Voyager. It is commonly interpreted as a Viking ship but this was not the artist’s intention as I later learned. He meant it to represent hope, progress and prosperity. Jón Gunnar died of Leukemia about a year before completion.
Sólfar is located on the waterside area about a ¼ mile from Harpa in downtown Reykjavik . I think it is a beautiful sculpture and it garnered a lot of attention from photographers this particular night. By the way, this image was made at about 11:30pm.
One of the most prominent features of Reykjavik is the church named Hallgrímskirkja. It is home to the Lutheran Parish in the city and was named after Icelandic poet & clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson. The church was commissioned in 1937 and completed in 1986. The statue in the church square is of Leif Ericson. It was a gift to Iceland from (more…)
Iceland is an island of many contrasts. The most obvious would be the volcanic activity that produces an abundance of energy and the glaciers that shape the landscape. Iceland’s contrasting nature especially struck me on our first day. The way the land has come together in this image reminds me of those contrasts we encountered.