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Snædís Karen



Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson are a collaborative art partnership. Their 20-year  interdisciplinary art practice is research-based, exploring issues of history, culture and environment in relation to both humans and non-human species. Working very often in close consultation in the field, with experts including professionals and amateurs, they use their work to test cultural constructs and tropes, and human behaviour in respect of ecologies, extinction, conservation and the environment. With a particular focus in the north, their projects and artworks have nevertheless been commissioned, generated and exhibited internationally and as frequent speakers at conferences worldwide, their works have been widely discussed in texts across many disciplinary fields. In 2019 they received a substantial grant from the Icelandic Research Fund (Rannís) for their project Visitations: polar bears out of place. Their artwork is installation based using variety of media including photography, video, text, drawing, objects and sound.


Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir is Professor of Fine Art at the Iceland University of the Arts and Mark Wilson is Professor in Fine Art at the Institute of the Arts, University of Cumbria, UK


Snædís Karen

In July, twelve years after witnessing her demise on the shore, we drove away from the Icelandic Institute of Natural History with her bones in the back of the car. Her entire skeleton – in fact everything of her remains, that was missing from the specimen in Blönduós, was sitting behind us in a cardboard box – a surreal moment of great poignancy and one that continues to haunt us. The experience and ensuing process that led us here to meet again, brings no closure for us, but rather a boost – a renewal of the imperative to ask the same questions over again – concerning the labour of swimming for over 300 km, the motivation that drove such migration, concerning her sense on making landfall there in northern Iceland and the reception she received, when her presence was discovered, first by a child and then, amid a circus of chaos and good intentions, her final breath on the sand.