Encountering Self On The Fringe of The World

In a dark land, a place haunted by trolls and disturbed by apocalyptic explosions I discovered a seam of kinship. Many generations ago, it appears with increasing clarity, my bloodline ran red with Viking DNA. This odd tale behind today’s featured painting begins in the winter of 1978. In that year my mother and I boarded a Loftleidr Icelandic DC-9 and flew from Luxembourg to Washington, with a refuelling stop in Iceland. It was dark when we arrived, and the snow was thick, wind howling in from violent seas. Drifts were building up, harsh lights dazzling, darkness enveloping, the air thick with aviation fuel. We hurried, cold and tired, into a 1960s terminal building and drank strong tea in mugs. It was oddly familiar, almost like the buildings of East Yorkshire I recalled from childhood. We did not stay long, just enough to fascinate. I returned in recent years, in winter once more. I was here for a reason. We had come to get married, an event of brief and unfussy formality in a small office, a post-war building that evoked my days in Israel and in every place I have lived. Iceland was the only country that was prepared to allow us this right, as non-residents. Later we explored Reykjavik, a city I had taken to. The buildings seemed so familiar, boxy, 1960s, the era of childhood. It was cosy, a little cafe inviting and nostalgic, old tins on shelves, coffee hot and warm, the scent of cinnamon and baking. At night we chose the same diner. There was something so familiar. What was it? The cold bit my face. I sought refuge in the old airport hotel, echoes of childhood treats, staring with glutinous delight at a glass display stand full of cakes in a refuge of gentility. As I left, a man spoke to me in Icelandic. I looked confused and he repeated his words. After explaining I did not come from here, he repeated his question in English, and added that he had assumed I was Icelandic. Did I look Icelandic? Well, apparently yes. I know I have Viking blood, Shetland ancestors, a big Scandinavian face.   I felt at home here in this odd city that reminded me at once of Hull, of Tel Aviv, of France, a mysterious land, with dark mountains laced with black magic and myth. This work is available for sale at https://www.artfinder.com/product/reykjavik-street-corner/


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