This year for the third time, the art biennale Fresh Winds took place in Garður, a small Icelandic village close to Keflavík International Airport. Fresh Winds started off December 21st 2013 and closed on February 9th 2014 introducing almost fifty artists from all around the world.
This year's theme is “Vastness” and focuses on painting, but the festival is “open to all arts”, according to curator Mireya Samper. Fresh Winds is not just like other art shows, the artists do not just come and set up and exhibit their works, it is so much more. What makes it so special is that it combines art and community like no other art festival in Iceland.
The attending artists share living quarters and work on site which enables them to form creative collaborations, a real sense of companionship and a solid, vital network. The diversity of the participants is rich as they work in different artistic genres, some of them being older, well established and already successful artists, whereas others are just at the very beginning of their career. “We all learn from each other”, says Mireya Samper about this very welcome side effect.
The artists also draw inspiration from the Icelandic landscape around them which is stark, rough and bare and in close proximity to the ocean as Garður is located at the very tip of Reykjanes peninsula and exposed to the elements. It is surrounded by the sea, lava fields and pastures and open to the incredibly harsh and strong winds.
Garður, a small fishing village of about 1500 inhabitants, benefits quite a lot from the festival as it invigorates their cultural life immensely by engaging the community. This is done by implementing the art hands-on into community life, for example Japanese artist Mikio Kawasaki's calligraphy workshop at Garðurskóli school or choreographer Claire de Monclin's dance work shop and much more.
The festival period is filled with an abundance of events such as art presentations, concerts, film screenings, performances, work shops, panel discussions and so on - and all events are free of charge and open to the public. Fresh Winds is such a simple but genius idea. It joins together a diversity of artists with very different backgrounds in order to create art together and to engage with the locals.
Mastermind and creator of the whole fantastic enterprise is Icelandic multi talent Mireya Samper who has been curating art shows for over fifteen years all over the world. She's not only organizer and curator but also heart and soul of the adventure. She manages to create a warm and personal atmosphere and even picks up every single artist from the airport personally.
For this year's event Fresh Winds gained the support of Franco-German TV network ARTE. The next Fresh Winds International Biennale will take part in winter 2015/16.
For a closer look and more information about the project visit:
Fresh Winds' website: http://fresh-winds.com/
Mireya Samper: http://mireya.is