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 ABOUT freya björg olAFSON: 

'...Olafson is a pioneer in our country's dance community'

Freya Björg Olafson is an intermedia artist who works with video, audio, painting and performance. Her praxis engages with identity and the body, as informed by technology and the Internet. Olafson’s work has been presented and exhibited internationally at venues such as the Bauhaus Archiv (Berlin), SECCA - SouthEastern Center for Contemporary Art (North Carolina), Ochoymedio (Quito, Guayaquil and Manta in Ecuador), The National Arts Center / Canada Dance Festival (Ottawa), and Onassis Cultural Center (Athens, Greece). Her video work has screened in festivals and galleries internationally, and is distributed by Video Pool Media Arts Centre. Olafson has benefitted from residencies, most notably through EMPAC - Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center (New York), Oboro (Montréal) and Atlantic Center for the Arts (Florida). Throughout 2017 Olafson was supported by Counterpulse in San Francisco for the development of a work engaging virtual reality to will premiere in 2019.


Olafson holds an MFA in New Media from the Transart Institute / Donau Universität (Austria), a BA Honors in Dance from School of Contemporary Dancers / University of Winnipeg alongside six years of training in the Professional Program of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and three summers with Springboard Danse Montréal. She maintains ongoing professional development; and has sought the opportunity to learn from senior artists such as Charles Atlas, Coco Fusco, Shawna Dempsey / Lorri Millan and Tedd Robinson. A recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the ‘Buddies In Bad Times Vanguard Award’ at the Summerworks Theatre Festival; Olafson’s recent nominations include the Sobey Art Award, the Independent Media Arts Alliance’s ‘National Media Arts Prize’ as well as the ‘Making a Mark Award’ from the Winnipeg Arts Council. Additionally, her recent work CPA [Consistent Partial Attention] was selected by an international jury to represent as part of Team Canada at Les Jeux De La Francophonie in Ivory Coast, Africa in July 2017.


A frequent collaborator on projects with established artists; Olafson has worked with Wanda Koop, Sarah Anne Johnson, Praba Pilar, Grant Guy, Mark Neufeld, among others. As a freelance performer Olafson has worked in dance, film and theater. Teaching, lecturing, and mentoring highlights include Olafson’s work with Saw Video (Ottawa), Syracuse University (NY), MAWA - Mentoring Artists for Women's Art and Plug In ICA (Winnipeg). Upcoming publications include a score / script of Olafson’s performance work AVATAR (2009) as part of Canadian Playwrights Press’ 2021 anthology on Digital Theatre in Canada.


Olafson has been member of the curatorial committee for the núna (now) festival since 2006, and served as president since 2010, in this role she has overseen and facilitated projects in dance, theatre, visual and public art. Olafson has been an active board member for Video Pool Media Arts Center since 2012 and from 2013 - 2016 was a member of ISPA – International Society for Performing Arts through the Canada Council Legacy Program. Additionally, she is a member of Projetbk / 8DAYS and a research collaborator with the Canadian Consortium for Performance and Politics in the Americas. In July 2017, joined the Dance Department at York University as Assistant Professor.


“ Olafson is one of Winnipeg’s most boldly interdisciplinary artists” 

Alison Mayes,  Winnipeg Free Press

En Francais:


Freya Björg Olafson MFA, est une artiste interdisciplinaire qui touche à une pléiade de différents médiums, de la vidéo à l’audio, en passant par la peinture et la danse. Ses créations ont été présentées aussi bien dans les festivals et les galeries du Canada qu’à l’étranger: SouthEastern Center for Contemporary Art (Caroline du Nord), Bauhaus Archiv (Berlin), Plug In Institute for Contemporary Art (Winnipeg), National Arts Center (Ottawa), DISKURS 13’ (Germany), OchoYMedio (Ecuador), O.K. Centrum (Autriche), ainsi que la Kling&Bang Galleri (Islande). L’artiste a été formée, entre autres, au Ballet Royal de Winnipeg et à l’école de la compagnie Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers (WCD). Elle est diplômée d’une Maîtrise en Beaux Arts, spécialisée en nouveaux médias, de l’Institut Transart et de l’Université Donau, en Autriche. 

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