Dark Winter (EOC)


Ellis O'Connor's picture

It happened at a time when none of us here in the North had caught sight of the sun for over two months. Sunday, January 24, marked the day in Ólafsfjörður when the sun peaked high enough in the sky to rise over the mountain and illuminate everything in its presence in this untouched, majestic fjord. Not only did everyone stop and look at this incredible wonder, which so many take for granted, but it was high enough to light up the town after the long, dark winter.


Photos by Ellis O'Connor.

All of us 24 multi-disciplinary artists based here in this town on the edge of the Arctic Circle are working with Listhús Art Space, having been granted the Skammdegi (Short Days) Award. Our aim here is to document our response to the dark winter and convey it through our varied visual ways of working.


My project throughout my time spent in Iceland has been to document the shifting of the landscape here and also the progressive effects of climate change around the coastline in the north. It has been an interesting experience progressing with my project through the dark winter, especially in the far north where daylight only lasts around two hours, so you have to make the most of your time outdoors when you can.


The immensity and magnitude of this place still astounds me every day and I find myself fascinated by the grandeur of the mountains that surround this town and the spectacle of the lake, which leads straight out to the Arctic Ocean. Here, the land and the nature around you become part of who you are; you are connected to each and every part of the land; therefore, it teaches you to respect it and return the energy it gives you. The textures, details and staggering display of peak to peak, mountain to mountain, surround me and fill me with energy.


The light here is precious and significant and it is in this place that I will cherish and remember the feeling of being surrounded by this scale of beauty and geographical wonders and formations of this land. It is here in the north of Iceland that I have developed my art practice and realized that I aim to go farther north and connect Iceland to the farther north of our world.

You can read more about my expedition to the North Pole here. You can also follow my adventures and art work made in Iceland at

Ellis O'Connor - ellisoconnor(at)

Ellis O'Connor is a visual artist working in painting, printmaking and photography from Scotland. She graduated from DJCAD in Scotland with a Master’s degree in Fine Art and Humanities and has been exhibiting her work widely and regularly for the past three years. She is currently living and working in Ólafsfjörður where she is artist in residence with Listhús Art Space.

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.