Board, Union Commission, and Association meetings
SÍM’s board since the last general meeting in April 14, 2016:
Jóna Hlíf Halldórsdóttir, chairman
Eirún Sigurðardóttir, vice chairman,
Erla Þórarinsdóttir secretary,
Steingrímur Eyfjörð and Sindri Leifsson, board members,
Helga Óskarsdóttir and Klængur Gunnarsson, substitute board members.
10 board meetings were held in total, including two union commission meetings. In addition, two conferences were held, and an open house to celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Artists’ House at Seljavegur 32.
This general meeting will end the terms for the positions held by Erla Þórarinsdóttir, Sindri Leifsson, and Helga Óskarsdóttir. SÍM would like to thank them for their good work in the interest of SÍM. Three candidates have expressed interest in the board membership for the years 2017 – 2019; Anna Eyjólfsdóttir, Starkaður Sigurðarson, and Erla Þórarinsdóttir as a substitute. As those were the only candidates, the board was chosen without an election and therefore welcomes the three new members.
The main role of SÍM’s board is to represent visual artists, improve their working conditions, thereby strengthening visual art as a profession, and attend to other interests relevant to visual artists, including the operation of studios. This year, SÍM’s board focused on a conference in relation to the campaign “WE PAY VISUAL ARTISTS”. The aim of the conference and the campaign was to strengthen the work environment of visual artists, and to improve their conditions.
SÍM now has 797 members, which is an increase of 22 members since the last general meeting.
In 2016-2017 the SÍM board has worked on following projects:
WE PAY VISUAL ARTISTS: The campaign “WE PAY VISUAL ARTISTS” was formally launched on the 20th of November 2015 in the Nordic House. Its purpose is to strengthen the work environment in the field of visual art in Iceland and improve the conditions and position of visual artists. The campaign’s main focus is the creation and use of a binding contract on the participation and contribution of visual artists in exhibitions.
AN INTRODUCTION OF THE CONTRIBUTION CONTRACT
This year, SÍM’s chairman held presentations for municipalities that run art museums and galleries, introducing, among other things, the draft of the Contribution Contract, its precedents, and the calculation formulas. The municipalities were slow to answer at first but after meetings with the mayors of Hafnarfjörður and Kópavogsbær were arranged, things started moving. Following a meeting with the mayor of Hafnarfjörður, the chair of SÍM received a formal invitation to introduce the draft of the Contribution Contract to Hafnarfjörður town council, on the 11th of August 2016. That presentation proved successful and had its part in Hafnarborg receiving an allocation of an extra 1 million ISK to pay artists. After the meeting, SÍM was sent an estimation from Hafnarfjörður executive board stating that the board considered that the next steps for the museums’ payments to visual artists should be taken at the collective setting of municipalities and the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. Hafnarfjörður town council sent such a request in August 2016 to the Icelandic Association of Local Authorities, but has not yet received an answer.
A meeting with the mayor of Kópavogur was not as successful but in its wake, the chair of SÍM got an opportunity to introduce the draft for the Contribution Contract to Kópavogur Arts council on the 12th of August 2016. After that presentation, the council requested that the artistic director of Gerðarsafn – Kópavogur Art Museum, Kristín Dagmar Jóhannesdóttir, turn in a statement expressing her opinion on SÍM’s proposals. SÍM’s chair has requested a copy of that statement, without success.
On the 8th of September 2016, the draft for the Contribution Contract was introduced to the Akureyri Cultural and Marketing Office. The presentation was successful; everyone agreed on the importance of paying visual artists without delay, and as such approved the Contribution Contract and found its conditions reasonable. Unfortunately, Akureyri Art Museum did not receive an extra allocation to start paying according to the contract for the exhibition program of 2017. In retrospect, the issue probably should have been further pursued with a formal request from Akureyri Art Museum for an extra allocation to start paying visual artists.
The chair of SÍM has also offered the municipalities that run LÁ Art Museum and the municipal council of Reykjanesbær, along with Valgerður Guðmundsdóttir, director of the Department of Culture of Reykjanesbær, a presentation of the Contribution Contract drafts but has at the time of this report not received an answer.
ARTIST PAYMENT CALCULATOR
The SÍM board hired Þrándur Arnþórsson, a system analyst, to put a calculator on SÍM’s web page to calculate payments that artists would receive if they were paid by the Contribution Contract. The SÍM board hopes that visual artists and other interest groups will make use of the calculator in their preparations for exhibitions, even though the Contribution Contract has not formally been validated.
SÍM started a petition in October 2016, in affiliation with Days of Visual Art, which challenged the elected government and the Icelandic Association of Local Authorities to increase allocations to Icelandic museums that receive public funding. Increased funding is fundamental for the museums to be able to pay artists according to the Contribution Contract. Even though SÍM’s chair has repeatedly requested a meeting with the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, through email and telephone, she has still not been able to schedule a meeting to deliver the petition.
MEETINGS WITH THE DIRECTORS OF ICELAND’S MOST IMPORTANT MUSEUMS
On the 31st of August 2016, the chair of SÍM chaired a meeting with the museum directors that worked on the Contribution Contract with SÍM to discuss the next steps and ask for their co-operation. Ólöf Kristín Sigurðardóttir, director of Reykjavík Art Museum and Ágústa Kristófersdóttir, director of Hafnarborg – the Hafnarfjörður Centre of Culture and Fine Arts, had expressed disapproval of the Contribution Contract. The meeting’s conclusion was that the museum directors would hold a meeting and then deliver their written comments on the Contribution Contract to SÍM’s board. Consequently, after these comments had been taken into consideration, the next steps would be for the museums to ask for extra allocation to pay by the Contribution Contract in the exhibition program of 2017. Formal comments have still not come from the museums’ directors. The only museum that requested an extra allocation last year to pay in accordance with the Contribution Contract was the Living Art Museum.
On January 30th, 2017, SÍM’s chair received an invitation for a meeting with Hlynur Hallsson, the director of Akureyri Art Museum, and Ólöf Kristín Sigurðardóttir, director of Reykjavík Art Museum, to discuss the next steps and suggestions for alterations of the Contribution Contract. Jóna Hlíf Halldórsdóttir, the chair of SÍM, attended the meeting along with Eirún Sigurðardóttir, vice chair of SÍM, and Erla Þórarinsdóttir. Ásdís Spanó was the meeting’s secretary. The chair of SÍM expressed her disappointment regarding the fact that no museum, except the Living Art Museum, had requested an extra allocation in 2017 to pay according to the Contribution Contract. The conclusion of the meeting was that the museums’ directors should meet and send in their proposed amendments to the Contribution Contract before March 15, 2017. SÍM’s board has not received an answer from the museums’ directors, despite repeated requests thereof.
THE DEPARTMENT OF CULTURE AND TOURISM AT THE CITY OF REYKJAVÍK – THE CONTRIBUTION CONTRACT
SÍM’s board received a letter from the Reykjavík Executive Board of the City Council on February 12th 2016 requesting a meeting between the Department of Culture and Tourism at the City of Reykjavík and SÍM to find ways to enable reasonable remuneration to artists. The chair of SÍM subsequently attended a meeting with Svanhildur Konráðsdóttir, director of the Department of Culture and Tourism, and Ólöf Kristín Sigurðardóttir, director of Reykjavík Art Museum, on December 8th 2016. As a result, Ólöf Kristín Sigurðardóttir sent SÍM formal comments on the draft of the Contribution Contract, while Svanhildur Konráðsdóttir was asked to request a meeting with the minister. Svanhildur has also pointed out that for a successful conclusion of this matter, there must be a general agreement on the contract’s content. On January 11th 2017, formal comments came from Ólöf Kristín Sigurðardóttir where she commented on the following points:
- Ólöf felt that the calculations of gratuity should be based on the size of exhibitions, not the length of the exhibition time.
- Ólöf points out that the fluctuations from year to year can be considerable, as the gratuity depends on the exhibition program of each year. Therefore, the museums must have access to some type of fund or some other kind of financing.
- Ólöf thinks it is crucial that the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, and the National Gallery of Iceland, as the central museum of visual art in Iceland, are involved in finding a solution and that it should be thoroughly investigated whether the ministry intends to establish a central gratuity fund that the museums can apply to as needed to meet the fair claim of artists getting a reasonable gratuity.
- Ólöf points out that to find a realistic basis for artist gratuity, it is important that discussions on the contract’s content take place in a well defined channel and that the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture starts a formal discussion that aims at finding a way that is both acceptable for artists and makes it possible for the ones responsible for the management of the museums to make future commitments on behalf of the museums. This means the possibility of the museums’ owners guaranteeing a salary for the time it takes to put up an exhibition but the funding for that factor comes from a gratuity fund.
The board of SÍM agrees on the points concerning the foundation of a central gratuity fund to reduce the fluctuations in calculating gratuity from year to year. SÍM’s board also considers it opportune that the Ministry of Culture leads the conversation between visual artists on one side, and the state and municipalities on the other side. However, SÍM’s board has pointed out that the Contribution Contract does not limit payments for exhibitions according to size. The Contribution Contract contains calculations of minimum gratuity for the work connected to exhibitions. As exhibitions vary in size and scope, it is only natural to take that into consideration and add it to the calculation of gratuity for exhibitions.
SÍM’s board has not formally answered the abovementioned comments because of the aforementioned meeting with the museums’ directors on January 30th 2017, and discussions on proposed alterations on the contract from the museums’ directors that were supposed to be ready before March 15th 2017. The comments listed above will be answered in May 2017.
THE CONTRIBUTION FUND
In their comments on the budget bill for the year 2017, BÍL, The Federation of Icelandic Artists, requested that the Parliaementary Budget Committee, in accordance with the campaign “WE PAY VISUAL ARTIST”, increase the allocation to museums and galleries that run museums by 100 million ISK. Another solution would be to create a special gratuity fund for visual artists with an independent allocation committee. In addition to this, it is necessary to raise the allocation to the Icelandic Visual Arts Fund to 100 million ISK.
A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Skaftfell, the Center for Visual Art, has sent a letter of invitation to some of SÍM’s members regarding exhibitions, specifically stating that they will pay by the Contribution Contract. ASÍ Art Museum has also called for proposals from visual artists that want to be considered when the museum buys art works and for exhibitions, specifically mentioning that payments will be based on SÍM’s Contribution Contract.
According to information from the National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavík Art Museum, Akureyri Art Museum, LÁ Art Museum, Reykjanes Art Museum, Hafnarborg – the Hafnarfjörður Centre of Culture and Fine Arts, and Gerðarsafn – Kópavogur Art Museum, it is also clear that the cost of artists’ salaries will rise in 2017 compared to last year. The museums were asked for information on what the cost would be if the Contribution Contract would be upheld, according to the exhibition program of 2017, as well as information on estimated payments to artists that have exhibitions in that year. The answers revealed that the museums estimate a total of 12,038,400 ISK will be paid out in the year 2017, which would be an increase of more than 25% from the year 2016. This is a positive change and a step in the right direction. If the museums’ cost of wages continues to rise in this manner, the museums would pay according to the Contribution Contract in five years. Visual artists must believe that it is possible to deliver the finishing touch and get these changes through.
PUBLICITY FOR THE CAMPAIGN “WE PAY VISUAL ARTISTS”
The chair of SÍM gave a number of interviews in 2016 on visual artists’ fight for better wages and working conditions. The newspaper Fréttablaðið published a full page interview on the October 15th 2016 on the position of visual artists and the campaign “WE PAY VISUAL ARTISTS”. The radio program Víðsjá on RAS 1 dedicated a whole show towards this fight from visual artists. The magazines Hús & Hillbilly and BILDPUNKT, published by IG Bildende Kunst in Vienna, also did interviews. After the interview was published in Hús & Hillbilly, Svandís Svavarsdóttir, member of parliament, contacted SÍM’s chair, and later sent an inquiry in parliament to Kristján Þór Júlíusson, minister of Education, Science and Culture, about the campaign “WE PAY VISUAL ARTISTS”.
THE CONFERENCE “THIS IS THE FUTURE, HOW DO WE GET THERE?”
SÍM’s board started preparations for the conference “This is the future, how do we get there?” in the autumn of 2016. The conference was held on April 21st 2017, in Rúgbrauðsgerðin. At the conference, the position of visual artists in Iceland was discussed, highlighting that their struggle for more wages and improved working conditions raises the question of human rights, as well as comparing the situation with neighboring countries. The moderator was Vilhelm Anton Jónsson and the presentors, along with SÍM’s chair, were Katrín Oddsdóttir, human rights lawyer, Hilde Tordal, chair of NBK and Eirún Sigurðardóttir, vice chair of SÍM. Visual artists Styrmir Örn Guðmundsson and Ásta Fanney Sigurðardóttir gave a performance. The conference ended with a course on the basics of negotiation technique, instructed by Ingvar Sverrisson who has run an independent consultation company for a long time and assisted many companies and associations in their negotiations. Auður Aðalsteinsdóttir compliled the meeting minutes, and SÍM has distributed these minutes to its members. The conference was well attended and the SÍM board hopes it was informative regarding SÍM’s struggle for better wages and improved working conditions, building up some confidence for future negotiations.
THE PEOPLE’S MEETING
For the second year in a row, The People’s Meeting was held at Vatnsmýri. This year a change was made and Almannaheill, the Association of Civil Organizations and Humanitarian Non-Governmental Organizations in Iceland, organized the meeting in co-operation with the Nordic House and with the support of the Ministry of Welfare, and the City of Reykjavík. The purpose of the meeting was, as before, to create a quality venue for a conversation between the public, politicians, and independent associations with the aim of building up trust and understanding between the different forces that uphold and shape society.
When preparations began early in the spring, political changes occurring in the country were not anticipated, but when it became clear that the political parties would start their electorial campaign for parliament at a similar time, the meeting’s focus points started to revolve around this fact. The electorial candidates realized the importance of being an active part of the meeting in Vatnsmýri the weekend it was held, and this was possibly a factor in their good attendance in the meeting’s seminars.
SÍM was an active participant in BÍL’s co-operation for the meeting. BÍL organized four seminars and participated in two other alongside copyright agencies. BÍL’s seminars were; “Artists are also parts of ‘management and labour’”, “Where is the political parties’ cultural policy?”, “The visibility of arts in the media” and “The interaction between arts and tourism”. Also, in co-operation with copyright agencies, BÍL participated in the seminars “The cassette fee – the future of copyright”, and and “Living off art – a discussion of copyright”. The seminars were all well attended and spurred lively discussions on those subjects.
THE CONFERENCE “HOW DO WE VALUE THE INVALUABLE? BELIEF AND PHILOSOPHICAL CONVICTION”
The Guðbrandsstofnun Institute, in co-operation with the Association of Icelandic Visual Artists, the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Iceland, the Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association Siðmennt, the Committee of Christian Religious Communities, and the Icelandic Psychological Association, held a conference on the value of belief and philosophical conviction at Hólar on May 4th-6th 2017, but preparations had been under way since Autumn 2016. The chair of SÍM went to four preparation meetings and also met with the artists that were to attend the conference on behalf of SÍM. SÍM’s board asked Ósk Vilhjálmsdóttir, Unndór Egill Jónsson, Eirún Sigurðardóttir and Karlotta Blöndal to attend the conference. SÍM pays a fee for presentations held but the cost of travel, board and lodging is paid by the organizers.
STARA/EZINE & SÍM’S PUBLISHING
STARA is the ezine of the Association of Icelandic Visual Artists and aims to encourage discussion and strengthen knowledge of visual art as well as providing information on SÍM’s operation. STARA is published both in Icelandic and English on SÍM’s home page, and is aimed at professionals as well as visual art enthusiasts. STARA was published twice in the last year, issue 6 was published on October 22nd 2016 at an open house at Seljavegur, while issue 7 was published on April 29th 2017 at SÍM’s general meeting. The Icelandic part was printed in 500 copies and distributed for free. STARA can be accessed at SÍM’s home page and at the website timarit.is.
On the editorial board of STARA are Jóna Hlíf Halldórsdóttir, chair of SÍM, Elísabet Brynhildardóttir, designer and visual artist, Jón B. K. Ransu, visual artist, Auður Aðalsteinsdóttir, doctor of literature, and Margrét Elísabet Ólafsdóttir, Doctor of art and aesthetics and lector at the University of Akureyri. STARA is partly financed by advertisements and SÍM hopes that in the future the income from advertisments will grow and cover a part of the cost of publishing STARA.
DAYS OF VISUAL ART 2016
The Day of Visual Art in the year 2016 was greatly extended, with its program stretching over a whole month. In the beginning of the year, a decision was made to stretch out this day and in the year 2016 the Day of Visual Art therefore became a project across the whole of October. Berglind Helgadóttir, the event’s project manager, ensured the event had similar emphases as before, although there was more of a political slant as elections were being held in the end of October. Her main emphases however were on strengthening public knowledge of the visual artist’s profession and to make information on visual art more accessible. The Day of Visual Art seeks to spark reflections on visual art and make it more accessible so that the public can both understand it and use it to enrichen their lives in various ways. Creative and critical thought are the cornerstones of art and, above all, positive elements in human society.
On this occation, artists opened up their studios to the public, presentations were held in schools around the country, articles were written in the press regarding the field of visual art, artists recounted their everyday experiences on the social media such as Snapchat, and Reykjavík City Library promoted Artótek and books on visual arts.
The highlight of the Day of Visual Art event was the 10th anniversary of the Artist House at Seljavegur, which was celebrated on October 22nd. Brynhildur Þorgeirsdóttir did wonders catering for the guests and Steinunn Eldflaug was the DJ. Many studios were open on every floor of the house, and guests crowded the house, enjoying the experience. SÍM’s board would like to thank the artists for their participation and for making this day unforgettable.
On the whole, the Day of Visual Art was a success in 2016. The project’s scope and reach broadened by prolonging its timeline, and that gave traditional parts of the program more breathing space. This experiment proved that having a whole month for the Day of Visual Art, in stead of just one day, is more efficient for bringing attention to the work of visual artists and visual art as a profession.
The board of SÍM would like to thank everyone who participated in the Day of Visual Art event, and project manager Berglind Helgadóttir for work that was well done in the last two years but her term as project manager has now come to an end.
Artótek is a collaborative project between SÍM and Reykjavík City Library, which began back in 2004. Recently, SÍM overtook the operation and accounting of Artótek, but Reykjavík City Library is, as before, responsible for housing, promotion, and exhibiting the project.
Artótek displays visual art by SÍM’s members, both for hire and for sale. Artótek’s main aim is to promote contemporary Icelandic art to the customers of Reykjavík City Library and others, and give them the opportunity to easily hire or buy an artwork.
Reykjavík City Library and SÍM are now co-operatively working on strengthening the operation of Artótek and increasing the number of customers and buyers through systematic marketin, in order to ensure a good selection and regular renewal of works. A new website for Artótek, www.artotek.is, was launched last year and members are encouraged to be active on Artótek’s facebook page and use the hashtags #artotekid and #borgarbokasafnid in their social media posts.
UMM / ARKÍV.IS
SÍM is responsible for the operation of umm.is – an information web site and portal about Icelandic art and artists. The website is based on data from the Information Center of Visual Art, which was operated for ten years with the support of the Icelandic state. The portal is very big and multifarious and has proved indispensable for various cultural institutions, visual artists, scholars, teachers and foreign curators.
However, UMM as a site has not been updated for years and the system (Dísill) is currently outdated. The board of SÍM tried to get state funding in 2015 as well as a grant from the Social Fund of Landsbankinn in 2016 to update the site, but unfortunately both applications received a negative answer. SÍM’s board has decided to start the considerably large project of updating the UMM’s database in the year 2017, under a new name, “ARKÍV”. The plan is to introduce the new web page in October 2017, on the Day of Visual Art event, as well as publishing a brochure. SÍM’s board has hired Þrándur Arnþórsson, system analyst, to update the database and Elísabet Brynhildardóttir, visual artist, to design the website and the brochure. Through a collaboration with the Directorate of Labour, SÍM will also get an employee for six months to work on the database.
A COURT CASE ON A WAGE CLAIM FROM A FORMER CHAIR OF SÍM
On July 24, 2014, SÍM received a letter from VR demanding that SÍM pay the association’s former chair, Hrafnhildur Sigurðardóttir full wages for April 2014, subtracting the wages she had already received for that same month, as well as full wages for May, June and July 2014 as the term of notice, along with paid holidays and bonuses from December 2013 in accordance with the wage agreement of VR. Former payments for wages, holidays, and bonuses were subtracted. VR demanded that SÍM pay Hrafnhildur 1.674.481 ISK as well as penal interests and legal costs. SÍM’s board held an association meeting on August 22nd to discuss the demands of the former chair. The meeting entrusted the board with the task of hiring of a lawyer to answer VR’s demands. SÍM’s board hired Ástráður Haraldsson, a supreme court lawyer from Mandat law firm and a specialist in labour and company law. VR sued SÍM in Reykjavík district court on behalf of Hrafnhildur and the case was filed on June 30th 2016. On April 23rd 2017, the case went to court. Ástráður Haraldsson had Jóna Hlíf Halldórsdóttir, chairperson of SÍM, Ingibjörg Gunnlaugsdóttir, managing director of SÍM, Hlynur Hallsson, and Áslaug Thorlacius, former chairs of SÍM, bear witness in the case. The conclusion of the Reykjavík district court will be announced in the coming days and SÍM’s board is worried that if the case is lost it will have serious consequences for the association’s financial situation and possibly mean higher membership fees and higher rent for studios. The demands and costs, should SÍm lose the case, could end in 6 million ISK, including penal interests and legal costs.
IAA GENERAL MEETING
Jóna Hlíf Halldórsdóttir, chairperson of SÍM, and Ingibjörg Gunnlaugsdóttir, managing director of SÍM, went to the general meeting of IAA, the International Association of Art, in Berlin in November 4th-6th 2016. Most of IAA’s member associations fight the same battles that SÍM are currently facing, such as campaigning for visual artists to get paid for the work they put in their own exhibitions, and as such SÍM’s campaign got deserved attention at the meeting.
Presently, there are five employees at SÍM’s office in three positions; Ingibjörg Gunnlaugsdóttir, managing director, Hildur Ása Henrýsdóttir, office manager, Fríða Britt Bergsdóttir, accountant, Birta Rós Brynjólfsdóttir, manager of residencies, and Friðrik Weisshappel, property caretaker.
SÍM rents six studio houses that we sublet to our members. These houses have the total of 153 studios and 2 workshops, one operated by The Icelandic Textile Guild, the other by The Icelandic Association of Ceramic Artists. SÍM’s studio houses are located at Seljavegur 32, Nýlendugata 14, at Korpúlfsstaðir in Reykjavík, at Lyngás 7 in Garðabær, and at Auðbrekka 1 and 14 in Kópavogur. At Auðbrekka 1 there is also storage space for our members. Unfortunately, we will lose Nýlendugata 14 in May next year and at the time of this report have not been able to find convenient housing for studios in the city centre.
The studios are alwas fully occupied and there is currently a long waiting list for available studios. Members can be put on a waiting list and have priority when a studio becomes available.
THE SÍM EXHIBITION SPACE
The SÍM exhibition space, located at SÍM’s headquarters in Hafnarstræti 16, is available to members for exhibitions and other events. A call for applications from members to exhibit there is sent out once a year. The exhibition time is around three weeks, but at the end of each month, SÍM’s guest artists have a group exhibition.
The exhibitions have been well attended and the program is available on SÍM’s home page and SÍM’s Facebook page.
In 2016 the following members exhibited in the SÍM exhibition space:
Halla Birgisdóttir, Ragnheiður Maísól Sturludóttir, Sigrún Hlín Sigurðardóttir, Katrín Eyjólfsdóttir, Una Björg Magnúsdóttir, Sölvi Dúnn Snæbjörnsson, Beate Körner, Inga Huld Tryggvadóttir, Baldur Geir Bragason, Hallgerður Hallgrímsdóttir, Helga Sif Guðmundsdóttir, Arnar Ómarsson, Kristín Rúnarsdóttir and Valgarður Gunnarsson.
The advent exhibition Kanill, with members’ works, was held in December 2016 and received a good reception.
THE SÍM RESIDENCY IN REYKJAVÍK
A total of 144 foreign artists stayed at the SÍM Residency in 2016. At Seljavegur, there were 11 rooms for artists as well as several studios, and there was an addition of two rooms and a collective studio in July 2016. At Korpúlfsstaðir, there were 3 rooms as well as good studios. Artists can stay from 1 up to 3 months, and more and more artists end up staying for more than one month in Reykjavík. At the start of each month, the group has an artistic talk in SÍM’s exhibition space where everyone is welcome. At the end of each month, the guest artists are invited to take part in a group exhibition at the SÍM’s exhibition space for two days. An increasing number of guests are attending these exhibitions, which are varied and often innovative.
Late last year, the Icelandic Art Center, KÍM, sought after SÍM’s co-operation in inviting foreign curators to stay in a residency in Iceland for up to two weeks. SÍM’s board was delighted to take part and intends to invite two curators to Iceland in 2017. KÍM is responsible for bringing the guests to Iceland, while SÍM will supply the accomodation. The curators will make studio visits to artists and give a presentation in SÍM’s exhibition space where they introduce themselves and their work. The German-American curator Annabelle von Girsewald was the first guest in this co-operative project between KÍM and SÍM. She stayed in Iceland for two weeks in January 2017, and in that time she visited the studios of twenty artists and prepared a project with a group of Icelandic artists, as well as foreign artists, in the coming semesters. SÍM hopes that members had a conductive conversation with Annabelle and that this opens new opportunities for exciting projects.
SÍM also had a residency exchange program in collaboration with Vaanta in Finland, and Hildur Ýr Jónsdóttir attended on behalf of SÍM to Finland in September 2016.
THE SÍM RESIDENCY IN BERLÍN
SÍM has operated a residency in Berlin for its members since 2010. There are two guest rooms, Askja and Hekla, with a joint kitchen and bath. Members can apply to stay in the apartment for one month at a time. The apartment is at Friedrichshain, formerly a part of East-Berlin. The neighbourhood is home to a number of artists and designers and is full of life, various designers’ shops, cafés, and restaurants.
SÍM’s board decided to launch an experimental project for two years and invite two young members to stay for free in the SÍM residency in Berlín every year. SÍM’s board congratulates Heiðdís Hólm and Logi Leó Gunnarsson with their grant of a month’s stay in the SÍM residency in Berlin. Heiðdís and Logi will write about their stay in STARA and give readers a little insight into their creative work.
BÍL’s members can apply for a stay in the residency when the apartment is available. The residencies are always open for applications.
The working year of 2016 – 2017 has been both eventful and demanding. It is worth mentioning that SÍM’s chair started a two years’ term on the Reykjavik Arts Festival’s board of directors, appointed by the festival’s council of representatives. The SÍM board wishes to thank all the committee members that have worked in SÍM’s interests over the past year and to everyone who has participated in the important projects of SÍM.
On behalf of SÍM’s board,
Jóna Hlíf Halldórsdóttir