For the third year in a row, Garður, a small village close to Keflavík International Airport, becomes alive when the artists of the Fresh Winds art festival takes over.
The festival started on December 21 with the arrival of almost 50 artists from all around the world.
This year’s theme is Vastness and focuses on painting, but the festival is “open to all arts,” as curator Mireya Samper told me.
Fresh Winds is not just like many other biennales where artists just set up and exhibit their works, it is so much more. What makes it so special is that it combines art and community like no other art festival in Iceland.Photos courtesy of Fresh Winds.
The artists share living quarters and work on site which enables them to form creative collaborations, a real sense of companionship and a solid, vital network.
The diversity of the participants is rich as they work in different artistic genres, some of them being older, well established and already successful artists, whereas others are just at the very beginning of their career. “We all learn from each other,” explains Mireya.
The artists also draw inspiration from the Icelandic landscape around them which is stark, rough and bare and in close proximity to the ocean as Garður is located at the very tip of Reykjanes peninsula and exposed to the elements.Mikio Kawasaki.
Garður, a small fishing village of about 1,500 inhabitants, benefits a lot from the festival as it invigorates their cultural life immensely by engaging the community. This is done by implementing the art hands-on into community life, for example Japanese artist Mikio Kawasaki’s calligraphy workshop at Garðurskóli school or choreographer Claire de Monclin’s dance workshop.
The festival period is filled with an abundance of events such as art presentations, concerts, film screenings, performances, workshops, panel discussions and so on- and all events are free of charge and open to the public. Fresh Winds is such a simple but genius idea. It brings together a diversity of artists with very different backgrounds in order to create art together and to engage with the locals. How beautiful is that?Hiroshi Egami.
Mastermind and creator of the whole fantastic enterprise is Icelandic multi talent Mireya Samper who has been curating art shows for over 15 years all over the world. She’s not only organizer and curator but also heart and soul of the adventure. She manages to create a warm and personal atmosphere and even picks up every single artist from the airport personally.
When I met up with Mireya to talk about the festival, I was enchanted and infected by her passion, vigor and enthusiasm for the project.
Fresh Winds is not about business, it’s not a sales art fair, it’s just a gathering of artists with one sole purpose: creation. And that’s what I love about it!
Sadly this festival hasn’t gotten the media coverage in Iceland it deserves; I was glad to hear, though, that Fresh Winds gained the support of Franco-German TV network ARTE.
To be honest, the idea of visiting Garður has never really appealed to me, but with Fresh Winds there I finally have a reason to go there.
Fresh Winds’s final show opens January 18 and will be open until January 26.
Katharina Hauptmann – [email protected]