The Sanctuary

2018 – today

Until the middle of the twentieth century, most Icelanders made their living by fishing and small-scale farming. Just like for centuries. But then the massive modernization came and farming became a marginal way of life. The remoteness of farms, hard work, and extreme weather are attracting fewer and fewer people. Farming requires time, dedication, and patience. The result will never come immediately.
For two winters I worked on Icelandic farms. Winter is the most inhospitable time of year when days are immersed in darkness and the weather shows its most extreme forms. However, I found the peace in this world. I felt closer to other people, to earth, as well as to animals. Here, human will and ambitions are always tamed by unpredictable nature. The earth is magically beautiful and dangerous at the same time.
The Icelanders believed that their homeland was full of supernatural beings. Every hill, stone, bay, field, or swamp was inhabited by elves, dwarves, earthly spirits… This faith has never completely disappeared, and the nature remains veiled in myth. Many old rituals are still alive. For farmers, the land is more than a piece of ground designated for human consumption. Nature is a mystery that one can never fully grasp and control. In the extreme natural conditions, one can only learn how to coexist. With nature, and with people. Man alone means nothing. The closeness is above all.