Hafnarborg Receives The Icelandic Music Award 2020

On March 11th, Hafnarborg received The Icelandic Music Award for The Music Event of the Year (Single Event), in the field of classic and contemporary music, for the opening concert of the exhibition Hljóðön, which was a part of the programme of Dark Music Days.

Hafnarborg would like to thank percussionist Jennifer Torrence, for an unforgettable interpretation of the works of Tom Johnson and Bergrún Snæbjörnsdóttir, and curator Þráinn Hjálmarsson, for his exceptional work. We also thank all the artists who took part in the exhibition and participated in the event programme connected with it.

It is not every day that an art museum receives a music award – but music has been an important part of the Hafnarborg programme since the early years. This award is an incentive for us to continue on this path.

Thank you all!

Music Workshops – Tónagull po polsku in Hafnarborg

Hafnarborg and the town of Hafnarfjörður have lent their support to the project Tónagull po polsku (Tónagull in Polish), which will offer weekly music workshops for Polish-speaking children and their parents in Hafnarborg, beginning on Sunday March 8th. The project is also supported by the Polish Embassy in Iceland.

Tónagull is a research-based music workshop method developed by prof. Helga Rut Guðmundsdóttir, designed to fit the needs of infants, 0-3 years old, and their parents. The first Tónagull workshop was held in 2004 and they have been organized continuously since then, attracting hundreds of Icelandic families every year. The workshops take place once a week and have a playful formula, engaging musically both the toddlers and the adult participants. From the beginning, the material has mostly been based on Icelandic folk songs and nursery rhymes, i.e. the native language of the participants.

In 2019, the first Polish language version of Tónagull was launched. Preserving the methodic framework of the Icelandic original workshops and some of the original songs with translated lyrics, the workshops incorporate traditional Polish children’s songs, popular folk melodies and nursery rhymes. Tónagull po polsku immediately gained high popularity among members of the Polish community in Iceland.

More information on the music workshops, dates and time, registration and more, can be found here in Polish.

Please note that the workshops are temporarily off, in light of present circumstances.


Phonemes – Icelandic Music Awards 2020

Phonemes – Exhibiting Music, which took place at Hafnarborg from January 26th–March 3rd of last year, has been nominated as The Music Event of the Year (Single Event) in the field of classic and contemporary music at The Icelandic Music Awards 2020. The judges‘ statement about the exhibition says the following: „An exiting and original exhibition with a captivating opening concert. Working with the interplay of music and space, Jennifer Torrence‘s performance of Nine Bells by Tom Johnson was particularly successful.“

The exhibition celebrated the fifth anniversary of the concert series of the same name, which is dedicated to contemporary music and has been a part of the Hafnarborg programme since 2013. At the opening of the exhibition, Jennifer Torrence performed Nine Bells, as mentioned in the judges‘ statement, but the performance of the same work at the concert series in autumn 2016 (then by Frank Aarnink) was the spark that would later lead to the exhibition, where music and visual arts encountered each other in the timeless space of the museum.

The artists participating in the exhibition were Ásta Ólafsdóttir, Steina, Steinunn Eldflaug Harðardóttir, Logi Leó Gunnarsson, Jón Gunnar Árnason, James Saunders, Bergrún Snæbjörnsdóttir, Magnús Pálsson, Tom Johnson, Curver Thoroddsen and Einar Torfi Einarsson. The curator was Þráinn Hjálmarsson, composer and artistic director of the concert series.

In connection with the exhibition, there was also an extensive programme of concerts, musical events and performances, featuring local and foreign artists and musicians, such as Haraldur Jónsson, Ásta Fanney Sigurðardóttir, Marko Ciciliani, Barbara Lüneburg, Skerpla, Berglind M. Tómasdóttir and more. The events were also a part of the programme of Dark Music Days, receiving four nominations at this year‘s award ceremony.

Hafnarborg sends sincere thanks to the judges and affiliates of The Icelandic Music Awards for the honour shown to the institution, as well as the participants of the exhibition.

Creative Workshops during Winter Break

Hafnarborg invites primary school children to participate in fun and creative workshops during Winter Break on February 20th and 21st, in connection with the exhibition Silent Spring, currently going on at the museum. The workshops will explore different activities, so children are welcome to attend either or both days.

February 20th at 1–3 p.m.

At the first workshop, we will deal with light itself, experimenting with various shapes and forms on photosensitive paper, under the guidance of Lilja Birgisdóttir, artist and participant in the exhibition Silent Spring, and Ólöf Bjarnadóttir, employee of Hafnarborg.

Recycled Material
February 21st at 1–3 p.m.
At the second workshop, we will work with recycled or reusable material, focusing on the potential to create new things from old, under the guidance of Unnur Mjöll Leifsdóttir, artist, and Ólöf Bjarnadóttir, employee of Hafnarborg.

The workshops will take place on the ground floor of the museum and children should be accompanied by adults. As always, participation in the workshops and entrance to the museum‘s exhibitions is free of charge.

Closed due to Weather

Hafnarborg will be closed due to weather on Friday February 14th, as The Chief of Police has declared an uncertainty for public safety for the whole country.

People are urged to stay at home tomorrow and follow instructions from the authorities, see the website of the Icelandic Met Office.

The Globe of Goodwill – Sold out at Our Shop

The Globe of Goodwill is sold out at Hafnarborg’s museum shop, as in many places in the Great Reykjavík Area. Some places have a few pieces left, but we recommend calling ahead to make sure that the Globe is still in stock. A list of places selling the Globe can be found here.

There are still a few pieces left of this year’s Yuletide Lads Mobile at our museum shop.

Museum Night at Hafnarborg – Life, Light and Shadows

Friday February 7th at 6 p.m.–11 p.m., Museum Night will take place in Hafnarborg, during which time the exhibitions will be open and a number of events will occur, such as a concert, a workshop, guided tours and more. The museum will be teeming with life, as the focus of the events and the exhibitions is on the relationship between man and nature or the interplay between light and shadows.


Kl. 18:00
Opening Concert with The Hafnarfjörður Music School, performing a programme
of select film scores

Kl. 19:00
Light and Shadow Workshop for children and their parents, under the guidance
of Berglind Jóna Hlynsdóttir, artist

Kl. 20:00
Guided tour of the exhibitions Far and Silent Spring,
with Ágústa Kristófersdóttir, Museum Director

Kl. 21:00
“Scent of Spring” with Lilja Birgisdóttir,
artist and participant in the exhibition Silent Spring

Kl. 22:00
Guided tour of the exhibitions Far and Silent Spring,
with Ágústa Kristófersdóttir, Museum Director

There will also be a book market at Hafnarborg, where various books from the museum shop will be sold at a special price. In addition, guests can participate in a special Museum Night Scavenger Hunt, for the chance of reward. Later in the evening, singer Guðrún Árný leads a sing-along at Krydd Restaurant and there is Happy Hour at the bar from nine until midnight.

For more information about the events, please click here.

Autumn Exhibition 2020 – The Wildflower

The Art Council of Hafnarborg has selected The Wildflower as the autumn exhibition of 2020, from a number of excellent proposals submitted at the end of last year, but the winning proposal was submitted by curators Becky Forsythe and Penelope Smart. The Wildflower focuses a futuristic lens — sensitive and searching — on our human desire to know nature. Through this lens, audiences re-engage a swell of complex emotions and an acute awareness of our fragile world and our place in it. Working with artists from Iceland and Canada, the curators cultivate new space for a dynamic collision of climate activism, feminism and craft-based practice in contemporary art. Urging forward a renewed interest in traditional materials connected to local culture, artists transform wood, marble, plant dye, flowers, metal into new visions of textile, sculpture, painting and stained glass armour.

The conceptual vision for the exhibition is that of an open “field” in a northern landscape. In the expansive gallery space, audiences will encounter familiar yet unusual representations of flowers and nature: large, small, otherworldly, imaginative, disorienting, empowering. Our human relationship to nature is in flux, unfathomable and fantastical, felt as both a gendered and androgynous transformative power in this futuristic yet fragile field — a source of productive tension and enchantment within the size, scale and materials of the works.

The Wildflower has evolved out of the curators’ shared interest in climate change as an empowering phenomenon, natural materials and craft traditions in contemporary art, as well as new forms of representation in northern landscape. These genres also align in new and meaningful ways to emerging concepts of nature, power and the feminine. Envisioned as an innovative and female-led curatorial platform for all audiences, The Wildflower explores themes and materials related to innocence, violence, colonization, action, force and gentleness in powerful union with the innate qualities of nature, raising the question: how can that which is deeply familiar — our delicate flora clinging to rock — take root in new stories?

Becky Forsythe is a curator, writer and cultural worker. She holds a BFA Visual Art from York University (2007), an MA from University of Manitoba (2011) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Museum and Gallery Studies from Georgian College (2014). Her work focuses on varied systems of nature, collecting and acts of care, as well as placing value on collaboration in diverse spaces, situations and sensitivities. From 2015-2018 she held the position of Collection Manager at the Living Art Museum, where she led a number of projects and exhibitions, including Distant Matter (2018), Rolling Line (2017, co-curator) and Between mountain and tide (2018, co-curator). For Forsythe an exhibition is equally tangible and intangible, being a site of exchange, action and renewal.

Penelope Smart is a curator and writer. She holds an MFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practice from OCADU (2013), where she received the President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Studies. Smart has held curatorial positions at The Art Gallery of Ontario, MULHERIN galleries (Toronto and New York) and Eastern Edge Gallery (St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador). Her writing has appeared in Canadian Art, C Magazine and n.paradoxa, among others. With a focus on young artists at the beginning stages of their careers, Smart approaches exhibitions as a place of risk-taking, life and mystery.

The participating artists will be announced at a later date.

Silent Spring – Kliður and The Forest Service

On the occasion of the opening of the exhibition Silent Spring, by Hertta Kiiski, Katrín Elvarsdóttir and Lilja Birgisdóttir, curated by Daría Sól Andrews, we are pleased to announce that The Reykjavík Forest Service (Skógræktarfélag Reykjavíkur) will plant a tree for every guest who attends the opening.

We are deeply grateful for this contribution from The Forest Service, which plays a critical role in preserving and protecting our environment all year round and helps us give back to nature in this way.

We would also like to call attention to a special happening featuring the choir Kliður, along with Lilja Birgisdóttir, which will take place at the opening.

The opening will be on Saturday January 18th at 3 p.m. At the same time, the exhibition Far will also open, with works by Þórdís Jóhannesdóttir and Ralph Hannam. Both exhibitions are a part of The Icelandic Photo Festival, going on from January 16th–19th.

Hoping to see you at Hafnarborg.

Midday Concerts – Winter/Spring 2020

The first Midday Concert of the year 2020 is set to take place on February 4th at 12 p.m.  At the first concert, Herdís Anna Jónasdóttir, soprano, will perform, accompanied by Antonía Hevesi, the artistic director of the concert series, on piano. The concert series has been a part of Hafnarborg’s programme for the past sixteen years.

The programme of the Midday Concerts, until spring, is as follows:

February 4th
Herdís Anna Jónasdóttir, soprano

March 3rd
Sigrún Hjálmtýsdóttir (Diddú), soprano

April 7th
Kolbeinn Ketilsson, tenor (cancelled)

May 5th
Gissur Páll Gissurarson, tenor (cancelled)

The Midday Concerts normally take place on the first Tuesday of each month during the wintertime. The concerts start promptly at noon and last for approximately half an hour. The doors open at 11:30 a.m. and the concerts are open to all, as long as there is available seating. Entry is free.

Please note that the programme is subject to change.