Icelandic Culture: Contemporary Art Activism (Listen)

We’ve had a great time covering Iceland Airwaves and discovering and reporting on Icelandic culture. Here’s an Icelandic cultural interview culled from our time there. Be sure to stay tuned for our final radio documentary, which will air on WCRX-FM 88.1. Visit our Iceland Airwaves blog to read/hear more from our time in Iceland.

Iceland is known for its thriving and growing art scene. Lately the country’s contemporary art scene, has been communicating social issues, more efficiently than verbal communication.

Eirún Sigurðardóttir, one of three artists who make up The Icelandic Love Corporation, says that art is a way to express ideas and start conversations on a variety of political issues and social topics.

With Iceland topping the Global Gender Gap Index for the sixth consecutive year as the country with the smallest gender gap, women’s rights and gender equality have been popular topics for discussion.  However, having a smaller gender gap doesn’t mean men and women of Iceland are equals. Jóni Jónsdóittir, another artist of The Icelandic Love Corporation, says there are still gender issues that need changing, and because of its prevalence, it’s easy to be incorporated in art.  

Starting conversations of these social issues is what drives the Icelandic art scene, not commercial success.  Helga Oskarsdottir, an Icelandic artist and owner of Tysgalleri, says that because there is no market for contemporary art, many Icelandic artists are not surviving from their work alone, despite education and devotion of the artists.  However, Oskardottir says that no matter the difficulties artists will continue to create.

For WCRX 88.1 FM and WCRX.COM I’m Jessica Braun Gervais.

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