Postcards from the Westfjords
Invited artist – HR Gallop Gallery Dec 6-8 2022
Jenni is a creative practice researcher at Charles Sturt University and a member of the Creative Practice Circle research group in the Faculty of Arts & Education. Postcards from the Westfjords is a result of an arts residency with ArtsIceland in Isafjordur, a town in the Westfjords of Iceland. The Westfjords are like a crevice community in that the landscape is very mountainous and the roads very winding and difficult – in the winter many of the roads are closed by ice and snow. You need to make a definite decision to go there as it is not on the main route of the rest of Iceland. That said, people that live in the small towns there are very dedicated to their “place” and several Australians have decided they love the landscape and environment so much they make their home there.
Artist’s Statement: My original intention was to make a work responding to the proximity to the Arctic and the climate crisis. However, during my first week in Iceland when I listened to Icelanders, the things that seemed most important to them were their literary links to the sagas, the connection to nature and the environment and the super-naturalness of that – trolls, elves, spirits. And it is easy to see this sense of the more than natural when you see the fjords, volcanic crevices, and other phenomena like the northern lights.
I also wanted to continue working with cyanotypes and embroidery as an extension of previous work. I was a little challenged by the lack of sunshine for the first week, but finally managed to get some images on pre-prepared paper and cloth. The images were of the natural environment, literature and the sagas, and Icelandic runes or alphabet. Somewhere along the creation process pieces of flora crept in – it was Autumn (although they seem to have Winter, and not-Winter) so the colours were red and yellow and ‘finished’ for the Winter. The sound pieces are from the sounds of nature, and phrases from interviews I had with Australian creatives whilst in the Westfjords.
Only after half of the residency did I begin to hear more about how the climate crisis is affecting Iceland – so maybe the next work is Postcards from the Arctic.
Jenni is an Associate Professor at Charles Sturt University. She leads the Mayday Hills Research Group and co-leads the Creative Practice Circle and Curriculum & Pedagogy research groups. In 2022 she had an arts residency with ArtsIceland in Isafjordur in the Westfjords of Iceland.