Iceland

...every day reveals surprising new vistas, feeding your visual thirst for beauty, and your souls’ requirements for awesome…

The country

The country is vast – truly amazing – any attempts to describe it seem trivial, awkward, incomplete at best – experience is everything.
Changes in geography and weather happen quickly and often. Natural beauty everywhere – sought after by tourists from around the globe –
(mixed feelings about that for sure!)

Icelanders

almost all speak English, they were friendly, accommodating, informative, helpful,
gracious – brief encounters, glimpses into another way of life – all fascinating!

Other travellers

were curious, thoughtful, informed, engaged with the world, excellent conversationalists –

The work

was challenging to be sure – Monday, 3 days after arriving my iPad was smashed to smithereens just 15 minutes before finishing filming the first part of Anne’s installation. Thank goodness there was an Apple service centre in Reykjavik. It was still insured under Apple care, so I only had to pay the deductible, however it was super inconvenient and worrisome – I wasn’t certain if everything would be able to be restored – (I’m still looking for missing files).
On Wednesday I filmed Anne putting the final pieces of her installation together and then she left it for the world to weigh in.
On Sunday, I assembled hai lights at the hotel, while Anne returned to check on her installation, which she found had been completely vandalized – red oil pastel profanities and pleadings and prayers on every surface. Devastating!
We had to quickly make new arrangements to respond to the situation. We were checking out of our accommodations in Reykjavik in a couple of days to go on a 4 day off-road camping trip – everything had to be cancelled and rearranged.
Inga, one of the women from Reykjanes art museum came to help us with the clean up the following day – it was difficult to be sure but made easier with the cleaner she brought
(a brilliant Icelandic product made from sheeps fat!)
Together we managed to remove most of the graffiti by the end of the day – exactly one week after the beginning of the installation. However there was residual adhesive from the medical tape left on the bridge which took Anne until Friday to finish removing.

In the meantime, unsure when an opportunity would present itself for a ‘hai’ lights installation, I set about trying to find and organize a possibility for an install somewhere close by where we were now staying in Grindavík. It was late Friday afternoon before I received the green light from UNESCO and the municipality of Grindavík – too late to start – it would have to wait until Saturday – the same day we were checking out of our hotel, changing cars, going to a new B’B, starting a 10 day driving tour of Iceland – the universe/weather would have to cooperate!
Unfortunately we woke up to rain which continued until just after 3p. Then it serendipitously stopped, just long enough for me to put up my pieces. Once installed the sun and rainbows showed up – it was beautiful – and seriously, just after filming and taking everything down, it began to rain again – I got exactly what I needed – perfect timing, cooperation!
Grateful 🙏🏻
It was days however before I could really look at the footage I shot to see how it turned out – the drive across Iceland was pretty all consuming!

Travelling through the country side

Iceland needs time and patience –
it may be a destination, but experiencing it requires a journey.
Travelling through the landscape and connecting with Icelanders, gives you insight into a fascinating culture, a resilient people.

Every driving day revealing surprising new vistas, feeding your visual thirst for beauty and your souls’ requirements for awesome, one needs time to drink it all in –

We had beautiful sunny days more often than not, revelled in long views and peaceful prairies alongside dramatic land formations, moss covered lava, waterfall surprises – glaciers and icebergs and oceans – oh My!

Highlights

Tricky really because there were many, but here are a few:

The all day party in Reykjavik enjoying the city and all it has to offer –

Icebergs up close and personal, watching one roll over right in front of me!

Walking barefoot on a black sand beach –

Eating the best lamb burger ever at Hotel Adventure in Litla -Hof – twice!

Trying fabulous Atlantic wolf fish at Salka restaurant in Husavik

Enjoying excellent lamb soup – everywhere –

Shopping at the original Alafoss wool store

Hanging out at the geothermal pools, both Myvatn and Blue Lagoon – being in the warm healing energy of of the earth – it did the mind, body and soul a world of good!

‘GREAT’ FULL for / of everything!

Back home

It became necessary to change our return plans which had us arriving home 3 days early – the body and mind exhausted, ripe territory for a virus invasion which happened almost immediately. I could not get out of bed for a week before attempting a slow reintroduction back into my life, connect with donors, make our offerings available, see that everyone received them, generally tying up this project –

All the moving about I’ve done in the last 14 months has left me with much work to catch up on, going back more than a year – the heart piece I began while at the Banff and Arteles residencies – creating video documents of the 2 installations I did in Finland, as well as the one in Iceland – updating, redesigning, re-imagining my website – deciding where to focus next.
I’m feeling the impulse to not move, to not go anywhere.
Instead I feel the pull to sit still, paint again, write, reflect, regroup –
I’ve sequestered myself in a small cabin in the woods in north central British Columbia –
a creative/spiritual hibernation of sorts –
redirecting energy to restore equilibrium, focus and commitment to a creative life.

Here’s to your own restorative process this winter season –
may it revive a sleeping dream, a dream sleeping –
reminding you of the importance of your own deeply personal creative process – encouraging its’ pursuit –

and the cycle cycles

Peace
Louise
Okori

November 11th 2019

Gratitude to:
All our donors / Arthur for helping on all fronts / Vally @ SÍM House Reykjavik / Inga & Gudlaug @ Reykjanes Art museum museum / Daniel @ UNESCO / the guys @ Lotus car rentals / Bryndís @ Hey Iceland / Municipality of Grindavik / and countless others who made the journey memorable 🙏🏻


PS. This will likely be my last post from this site. I will keep you all informed of the next incarnation when it transpires.
Thank you all for taking time, your precious time, and spending it reading and perusing my website, being curious about my work. Your support is felt and appreciated.🙏🏻


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