“I wanted a voice or a choice”
You could open an art space in a closet and it can be interesting, says Steinunn Marta Önnudóttir who runs Harbinger project space in Reykjavik.
“Any space can become interesting with the activities which are put on there, a closet can be a great space, it doesn’t have to have the biggest fanciest space.”
The 33-year-old co-founded Harbinger in June 2014 after having studied abroad.
“When I moved back here I was very disconnected from the scene, it was hard to find a way in and to engage with it, it is very based on friendships around people who studied here, it was hard to access. I also felt I was seeing a lot of the same artists exhibiting. I just wanted a voice or a choice or maybe somehow to find a way to look for things I found interesting here.”
“It’s incredibly meaningful to provide a space for artists to display their work, it’s very rewarding and if you have a good dialogue with the artist during their preparations you keep making new friends and acquaintances.”
“I hope it feels refreshing to view work here, that people feel art has more areas to explore and it is a growing field that’s expanding and not narrowing down.”
“There is a big need for spaces like this or of any kind, there’s not a lot of artist run spaces right now and there are a lot of practising artists who need a space to show their work.”
She added the tourist industry is not really contributing to the art scene in Reykjavik and she fears some negative consequences of the high level of tourism Iceland is experiencing might be on the way.
“There is a negative impact which I’m not sure has all come to light…Artists are losing their studios, the studio complexes are going to be turned into hotels and when that happens I’m not sure how it will be for the artists…I guess we just have to move to the suburbs.”
Learn more about Harbinger here.
Words by Beth Cherryman