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part of the New Icelander series    

7m 00s    

Video | Audio | Performance: Freya Olafson


format available:

Beta, Mini DV, DVD (NTSC or PAL)


Completed in 2007


In my New Icelander series I draw parallels between the cross-cultural experiences of my 19th century ancestors and my own present-day identity. In the creation of this work I referenced the Icelandic River Saga, written by Manitoba genealogist Nelson Gerrard, chronicling the history of the settlement of New Iceland, north of Winnipeg, Manitoba. In the New Icelander series I manipulate both the visual images and stories within this “saga”; thereby interpreting history, figuratively resurrect my ancestors and in the process discovering and creating my own mythology.


*** notes on Land: My ancestor’s settled on a homestead called Nes along the Icelandic River in Manitoba. This land was an unmarked graveyard for approximately 75 Icelandic and indigenous folk who died of smallpox within the first years of settlement: 1875-76. Upon visiting this site for the first time this summer 2006, I had direct encounters with unearthed graves and bones that were gradually being dragged to the basin of the river. The imagery in 'unmarked' is a result of this serendipitous and complicated connection with history resurfacing as well as a severe allergic reaction to antibiotic I had in 2007 that resulted in an attack on my white blood cell and platelets counts, leaving me with a distinct rash and illness that confounded doctors for a period time. It is at this time I created this video work. 


Screening History


2016 Canada Dance Festival (Ottawa) / Saw Video (Ottawa)

2010   Nordic Arts Alliance / Minnesota State University (Fargo / NorthDakota, Moorehead / Minnesota)


2009   Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival (Fargo / NorthDakota, Moorehead / Minnesota)

2008   Akureyrarvaka (Akureyri, Iceland)

2008   D:MIC, Dance: Made in Canada Biennial at the Betty Oliphant Theater (Toronto, Ontario)


2007   O.K. Centrum | Transart Institute  (Linz, Austria)


2007   núna (now) Festival (Winnipeg, Manitoba)





The development of this series is generously supported by the Manitoba Arts Council, The Winnipeg Arts Council.

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