Since its establishment in 1968, the Nordic House has been a central Nordic platform for art, culture, language and public debate in Iceland. We strive to fulfill the Nordic prime ministers' vision for 2030 that the Nordic region will become the world's most sustainable and integrated region. In recent years, we have strategically taken steps to shape our program thematically and allow art to have an explicit role in our work with the vision. The varying perspectives that art can offer are invaluable in a time faced with many challenges both in terms of the environment and social issues.

The exhibition Nature in Transition: Shifting Identities researches the relationship between man and nature in the West Nordic Countries. In this Northern part of the world, nature has traditionally been an obvious and present part of life, shaping people and their identity. Nothing is constant, but the changes we are seeing in the region right now are happening at a faster pace than ever before. What happens when conditions change, when humanity forges new paths, when identities are reshaped, when someone comes in from the outside?

The exhibition is broad in content and multi-layered. Each individual work goes into depth on specific issues, but they also have a subtle dialogue with each other. One piece takes over where the other ends and together they tell a story that looks back on traditions and customs relating them to the present and the future. Clear threads also bind the different parts of the West Nordic countries together, countries that are close to each other while still so far away.

The Nordic House in Reykjavik is dependent on good partners, especially in times when the budget for the Nordic cultural co-operation is cut and a pandemic is hampering mobility. I am deeply grateful for the fruitful collaboration with the Iceland University of the Arts and send a warm thank you to the artists and curators of the exhibition. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the in-house staff of the Nordic House, who have once again proven that they are the best in the world.

Sabina Westerholm,
Director of the Nordic House in Reykjavík