Autumn Exhibition 2022 – Winning Proposal

The Art Council of Hafnarborg has selected high tide – low tide as the autumn exhibition of the year 2022, from the proposals that were submitted at the end of last year, but the winning proposal was submitted by Sigrún Alba Sigurðardóttir. The focus of this year‘s exhibition will be on the seaboard, which is grand in scale, as well as being home to little lifeforms, delicate flora and diverse rock formations. There, the large and fierce clashes with the small and fragile, as the waves crash relentlessly on the shore.

At the exhibition, the seaboard will be viewed through the work of artists from different countries, whose culture and economy are greatly shaped by the seaboard and the ocean. Throughout history, those that live near the coast have in large part based their livelihood on the proximity to the ocean, where the shoreline marks a clear border, in addition to being a bridge to other worlds. The seaboard can thus play a part in elucidating the complex positions and responsibilities mankind has towards nature in the Anthropocene.

In relation to climate change, one might view the seaboard as a conflict zone. Rising sea levels have an immediate effect on the seaboard – life at the coast will change as global temperatures continue to rise and this may even force humans to resettle in new places en masse. The exhibition will then call attention to the tenuous yet precious relationship we have with nature, in the hope of moving viewers and causing visitors to rethink their own position towards the seaboard in a whole new light.

The participating artists will be announced at a later date.

Sigrún Alba Sigurðardóttir is an independent curator, having previously curated exhibitions at the National Gallery of Iceland, the LÁ Art Museum, the Reykjavík Museum of Photography and the National Museum of Iceland. She is currently working on an exhibition based on collaboration between Fotografisk Center, Denmark, Landskrona Foto, Sweden, Northern Photographic Center, Finland, and the Akureyri Art Museum, Iceland. This exhibition is set to open in Copenhagen in January 2022. Sigrún Alba is a teacher of art history at the University of Iceland, as well as teaching at the design department of the Iceland University of the Arts. She has published seven books and a number of academic papers, on Icelandic art and photography in particular.

This will be the twelfth exhibition in Hafnarborg’s Autumn Exhibition Series, where the objective is to create an open platform for the arts, taking various viewpoints and subjects into consideration. It is the Art Council of Hafnarborg, along with the Director, that reviews submissions and selects the winning proposal each year.

Terra Incognita – Cartoons from Iceland and Slovakia

The Free Feeling project and the Terra Incognita cartoon exhibition of Slovak and Icelandic authors aims to bring this untraditional art to people in both countries. Cartoons certainly represent a universal language, being a probe to human thinking that responds to both the inner world of the authors and external influences.

Last year, five exhibitions of the participants’ works were displayed in Slovakia at cultural events, festivals and workshops. Icelandic audiences now get the chance to view the exhibition and appreciate the works of two Icelandic and two Slovak cartoonists: Elín Elísabet Einarsdóttir, Fero Jablonovský, Hugleikur Dagsson and Bobo Pernecký.

The exhibition is located in Hafnarborg’s Apótek gallery, on the ground floor of the museum, and is open to guests during regular opening hours of the museum.

#SlowArtDay 2021 – Slow Down and Look

#SlowArtDay is celebrated on April 10th this year, when we are encouraged to slow down and look closer and longer at works of art in order to engage more deeply and make new discoveries.

Give yourself ten minutes and just look.

Hafnarborg is open today from 12 to 5 p.m. The exhibition now on view is Magic Meeting – A Decade On by Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson and The Magic Team. We encourage everyone to visit the exhibition and give themselves time to experience and enjoy the works they see.

We also suggest going for a walk in Hafnarfjörður and visiting one or more of the many public artworks of the town. On the website, you can even find a map with the location of all the public artworks in town.

Enjoy slow looking and happy #SlowArtDay.

Autumn Exhibition 2021 – Winning Proposal

The Art Council of Hafnarborg has selected Community of Sentient Beings, curated by Wiola Ujazdowska and Hubert Gromny, as the autumn exhibition of the year 2021. By inviting various professionals – artists, academics, performers – to participate in the exhibition, the aim of the curators is to create a space for multiple voices to come together, while reflecting on different ways of voicing, hearing and sensing. In this way, the exhibition will offer a space for various kinds of engagement, with an emphasis on the project’s processual and performative nature, by activating the space and exploring different ways of inhabiting it, transforming the museum into a space of connectivity.

Looking at our connection to the world as a community of sentient beings will allow us to open various paths of investigation, whether it be the relationship between human and nature, human and culture, or human and human. The term sentient being allows us to abandon historically charged definitions, to think of personhood and humans more broadly. At the core of the concept, is an interrogation of the historical and social usage of a category of human, which concerns whom and what we consider part of a community. Hafnarborg and its history also provide an interesting context for such investigation, as changing the function from a pharmacy and chemist laboratory can be seen as a symbolic shift from healing practices based on science, namely chemistry, towards the spiritual and cultural agency of art.

This calls into question the tension between art and science, as approaching art as a cognitive capacity may allow us to comprehend that which cannot be captured by scientific reason – connections between worlds known and unknown. Extending our perception, the exhibition invites guests to sense a place or presence, pondering the importance of memories and different modes of communication, such as those mediated by technology, and bringing to mind the changes in Icelandic society, which is becoming more and more diverse. This diversity brings connection with other places, other traditions and different spiritual practices. Each newcomer arrives with embodied knowledge, a memory, which is a basis to encounter new, unknown land. Thinking of art as a vehicle to understand the invisible, to listen to undercurrents and reflect on them may then allow us to engage with various dimensions of what we perceive as a sentient being.

Hubert Gromny is an artist, researcher, curator and writer, based in Reykjavík, Iceland. He graduated with an MA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, Poland, in 2015. He also holds a BA from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, where he studied at the department of philosophy. In his practice, Gromny investigates the intersections between art, theory and popular culture, in order to unfold the sociopolitical significance of aesthetics and culture.

Wiola Ujazdowska is an artist, performer and art researcher based in Reykjavík, Iceland. She holds an MA in art theory from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland, where she also studied painting at the department of fine arts. In the years 2012-2013, she studied at CICS in Cologne, Germany. Ujazdowska’s work mostly focuses on body and gender in the context of politics, migration movements, class, borders and beliefs, as well as dealing with social and cultural constructions in philosophical, cultural and anthropological context.

Participants and details about the programming will be announced at a later date.

This will be the eleventh exhibition in Hafnarborg’s Autumn Exhibition Series, where the objective is to collaborate with different curators, who get the chance to submit their own proposals, allowing new voices be heard. The Director and Art Council of Hafnarborg then review the submissions and select the winning proposal each year.

Listen to Art – An Artwalk in Hafnarfjörður’s centre

Hafnarborg in collaboration with the Hafnarfjörður Library offers an outdoor artwalk in the town centre. Scanning a smart code with your phone, brings you information in Icelandic about each work displayed along with a short entry from the realm of literature. The walk takes approximately 40 minutes, in order to visit all the works and listen to each piece separately.

Here is a map showing the location of the artworks:

An interactive map showing the location of all the public artworks in the Hafnarborg Collection is available at

Gunnar Hjaltason – New Poster for Sale

In Hafnarborg’s museum shop, based on artist Gunnar Hjaltason’s work Hafnarfjörður is now for sale. The poster is 37 x 56 cm and is printed in limited edition. An ideal Christmas present for 2.990 ISK. Orders can be made by contacting Hafnarborg’s gift store at [email protected] or by telephone at 585 5790 between 12–5 p.m.

A retrospective of Gunnar Hjaltason’s works is now on view in Hafnarborg’s Sverrissalur. Gunnar (1920-1999) worked in Hafnarfjörður as a goldsmith for years, but the arts were his true passion. His works were exhibitied widely in Iceland. He painted in oil, acrylics and watercolour, but Hafnarborg’s exhibition focuses on his prints, many of which belong to the Hafnarborg Collection. The images depict landscapes, town views of Hafnarfjörður and the Icelandic nature, as Gunnar was a great outdoorsman, having illustrated numerous yearbooks of the Iceland Touring Association (Ferðafélag Íslands).

Three Thousand – a Short Film by Asinnajaq

As part of extended programming for The Wildflower, we are honoured to share the short film Three Thousand by Inuk artist Asinnajaq, but the film can be viewed here below, being accompanied by a short introduction by the artist in the above player. Produced with archival material from The National Film Board of Canada, Asinnajaq’s sublime imaginary universe “recast[s] the present, past and future of her people in a radiant new light.” Both historical footage and original animation, the short film dives into a complicated history retold with imaginative hope and beauty, and new possibility.

Asinnajaq ᐊᓯᓐᓇᐃᔭᖅ is an Inuk artist from Inukjuak, Nunavik. Her most recent film, Three Thousand (2017), blends archival footage with animation to imagine her home community of Inukjuak in the future. It won Best Experimental Film at the 2017 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and was nominated for Best Short Documentary at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards. Exhibiting work in Canada and abroad, she is the recipient of numerous awards, including Toronto Film Critics Association’s Technicolour Clyde Gilmour Award. She is co-creator of Tillitarniit, a festival celebrating Inuit culture in Montréal. Asinnajaq is one of four curators working on the inaugural exhibition of the new Inuit Art Center in Winnipeg, Canada, opening this year.

Asinnajaq’s work Where You Go, I Follow (2020) is exhibited for the first time in The Wildflower.

Three Thousand (2017):

Museums in Strange Places – Podcast

Museums in Strange Places is a podcast about Icelandic museums and museum culture. Hannah Hethmon visited Hafnarborg and chatted with the museum director, Ágústa Kristófersdóttir. Click here for information on the podcast or listen to the episode on Hafnarborg in the player below.!50bd7166a9211de70c064fa097dffaeb28206918

Conversing with Existence – a Book about Eiríkur Smith

Hafnarborg proudly announces the publication of an art book about the painter Eiríkur Smith, published in connection with the exhibition, Conversing with Existence, now on display in Hafnarborg. The book, which bears the same title as the exhibition, looks at Eiríkur Smith’s diverse carrier as a painter, being full of beautiful photos of Eiríkur’s work. Aðalsteinn Ingólfsson, Heiðar Kári Rannversson and Aldís Arnardóttir write texts for the book, in addition to Ólöf K. Sigurðardóttir, the former Director of Hafnarborg, who is also the curator of the exhibition and the book’s editor.


Eiríkur Smith’s (1925-2016) career was both long and wide-ranging. He addressed painting as a form of expression and created works that bear witness to a unique grasp on different styles, ranging from geometric abstraction to expressive abstract painting and realism. The human figure is often in the foreground, while the landscape and human creations form a powerful framework. His approach went through numerous changes in line with the times, in part due to the artist’s active pursuits into new territory.

Conversing with Existence is the fifth and last exhibition in a series that Hafnarborg began in 2010, where five different periods were examined throughout Eiríkur Smith’s long and diverse career. The book is published with five different book covers, with a select painting from each of the five periods. Buyers can therefore choose their favorite cover for their book shelf. The design of the book was in the hands of Ármann Agnarsson.

The book is available at Hafnarborg’s museum shop and major bookstores.

New Director of Hafnarborg – Ágústa Kristófersdóttir

Ágústa Kristófersdóttir has been hired as Director of Hafnarborg.

Previously, Ágústa worked as the Director of The Museum Council of Iceland and before that as a curator for The National Museum of Iceland and the head of the exhibition department of The Reykjavík Art Museum.

Welcome, Ágústa, from the staff of Hafnarborg.