Concealed art

In Reykjavik, a significant event in the common German-Icelandic history was commemorated until recently. For three years, the One Wall by the Nomad Clan and Hera, which was enormous in terms of content and scope, symbolized the flight into the unknown, the path from the familiar into the unknown. The gaze was always turned towards the new future, only the memories look back.

In the meantime, the progress of construction has withdrawn the image from all viewers.

Fortschritt kennt kein Pardon. Heimat ist, wohin man sich begibt. Familie ist das, was man selbst daraus macht. / © Foto: Georg Berg
Home is where you take it. Family is who you make it / © Photo: Georg Berg

The Museum for Contemporary Urban Art (Urban Nation) shows the huge mural in its original state and also describes the historical background: In 1949, 314 German women came to Iceland on a ship called Esja. Shortly after World War II, when Germany was still in ruins and many of these women were widowed and impoverished, mourning their husbands, a new perspective arose for them in a foreign land. Iceland became a new home for these women. Here they found a safe home, work and some even a new love. Many of the so-called “Esja women” stayed in Iceland.

Artist Hera feels it is “especially important to look at the fact that people have always been migrants who have entered new and unknown territory and eventually merged with it [becoming] part of new places, cultures, and families. Migration stories are in the DNA of every country, in its national identity. Reminding people of this is critical to sustaining a culture that welcomes immigrants.”

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