Iceland review - 2002, Blaðsíða 55

Iceland review - 2002, Blaðsíða 55
53 Art in_reykjavík The young people lucky enough to receive sponsorship to partake were treated to a nine-day itinerary including field workshops with US artist Diane Burko (who specialis- es in depicting volcanic regions worldwide), input from Icelandic visual artists, lectures in anthropology, and visits to forward-thinking Icelandic companies like multimedia specialist CAOZ and Thule Musik. But the most important way to gauge the success of a project like this is to hear what the kids have to say: How have your thoughts about Iceland or Icelandic people changed? I thought they’d all be “outdoorsy”. I didn’t think they would be so much into style and image. Most of the people we met were like city people. I thought they’d be more “country”. KASSANDRA BANKOVICH, 18 What aspect of the whole experience affected you the most? One thing that really stood out in my mind is the artwork that everyone did together. We really collaborated, and we did some really good stuff. It was more like family than friends. MIKE TRIHN, 16 What are the best qualities in the Icelandic kids? They are very honest. I really like that. If they don’t like something, they will tell you. Even when we didn’t know them, they would just tell you. Now that was shocking. They were so honest and kind of blunt. It was like “whoa”! But I really like that. AMELIA LOWE, 17 What do you think are the best qualities of the American kids? I think they are all pos- itive. (It’s not as if) they all went to Iceland thinking that we are all ugly Eskimos living in snow houses. INGIBERG THORSTEINSSON, 16 Do you think that the American kids got a better understanding of Icelandic culture? Yes. They think some if it is stupid, but so do we… like the trolls and the ‘hidden people’. Not all of us believe in that, but if they hadn’t been with any Icelandic peo- ple, they wouldn’t have gotten the right idea about this. TINNA BJARNARDÓTTIR, 17 Which qualities do you most admire in the American kids? … that they are really interested in seeing and learning about new things. They are always asking me, “How do you say this in Icelandic?” GUDRÚN HARDARDÓTTIR, 18 Co-founders of MYX, Josette Bonfino and Ian Cross explain that: “Art formed the basis for putting the kids together in the first place. It was the one thing that each of them had in common when they start- ed out as total strangers. But the conduit could have just as easily been something else like music or sports…” For Bonfino, the most profound part of the trip was, “seeing all nine kids collabo- rate on one piece of artwork reflecting their personal experiences of the past week. They got right down to business without the typical teen posturing, and got totally absorbed in the art. Afterwards, when they were openly discussing their completed work, I thought, ‘Wow, this pro- gramme has had an impact on all of them; they are relating to each other and respect- ing each other’s opinions.’” Cross believes that: “The whole experi- ence really opened up the minds of the American kids who’d never travelled abroad. It gives you a sense of optimism to see that…” Which is just what the doctor ordered after all – a bit of hope for the future. JMcC This first cultural exchange will culmi- nate in a review show of sketches and photos at the MYX gallery opening on 6 December. For more information, see or e-mail Ph ot o Br ia n Sw ee ne y Tinna Bjarnadóttir from Iceland In the Mix In direct response to the tragedies of 11 September, Philadelphia-based Multicultural Youth Exchange (MYX) visited Iceland this summer, with its primary aim being to get the Icelandic and US kids experiencing one another’s company. 51 IR302 - In Rvk CL bs-rm 2.9.2002 16:28 Page 53
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