By Stan Henderson
ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE at the Dunamaise Arts Centre Rebecca Deegan is currently in Iceland on an artist’s residency for the month of November to study the art, folklore and culture of the north Atlantic country.
The residency is in an abandoned fish factory in the little village of Stöðvarfjörður in the country’s East Fjords, which has become a thriving place of creativity, music and craft.
Rebecca takes up her story.
“One evening during the strictest of lockdowns, I was going on a sad little virtual adventure on Google Maps. I clicked onto Iceland and just got lost in the beauty and vastness of the landscape.
“I’d always been fascinated by Iceland. This was during a time where we couldn’t venture more than two kilometres from home. That really settled it and I longed for the true isolation, deep darkness and the magic that Iceland has to offer.
“That same evening, I started researching artist residencies in Iceland and stumbled across the Fish Factory-Creative Centre in a small village called Stöðvarfjörður in the East Fjords. The abandoned fish factory, which was transformed into artists’ studios and workshops, nestled among the most awe-inspiring nature you could imagine, looked amazing. A bonus is a big cuddly residential dog named Tumi, who I can’t wait to meet.
“I started working on my application straight away by writing my proposal for how I would spend my time there. I am really drawn to the otherworldly and the mystical, so my aim for the artist’s residency is to explore Icelandic folklore and intertwine some elements of their stories into my paintings. I am particularly interested in the archetypal nature of folklore and fairytales and how they continue to prove relevant as they are passed down through generations.
“When I received the acceptance letter from Fish Factory Creative Centre, I was over the moon. I had always dreamed about but never expected to get the opportunity to undertake an international residency.
“I then approached the Arts Council of Ireland with my proposal upon getting the news that I had been accepted to Fish Factory and was awarded the Professional Development Award in support of the residency, for which I am beyond grateful.” she said.
The residency was originally meant to take place in March, but with the restrictions at that time it wasn’t feasible, therefore it was postponed until November.
Rebecca plans to spend her time in Iceland creating, exploring, meeting people and hearing the stories that hold meaning for the local people today. She intends to immerse herself in the magic to see what comes out.
She said that it is her intention that the residency will be the humble beginnings of an ongoing body of work, which she will hopefully get the chance to exhibit next year at home.
Rebecca is extremely grateful to everyone who made this possible for her and to those who support her art in any way, particularly the Dunamaise Arts Centre.