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Wayfinders in the National Nordic Museum in Seattle. July 15, ´23 to January 28, ´24

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

Visitors navigate the public spaces of the National Nordic Museum alongside Wayfinders by Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, an installation of 13 life-sized cast recycled aluminium sculptures. The design of the Museum’s building evokes the natural features of the Nordic countries—most notably a fjord set in a valley formed by steep cliff walls. It also references transatlantic migration through forms that resemble the hull of a ship and bridges connecting galleries devoted to the Nordic region and Nordic America. Thórarinsdóttir’s sculptures are woven into the architectural and curatorial narratives of a journey from the Nordic countries to North America. During Thórarinsdóttir’s creative process, the story of her great-uncle, Friðrik Sigurðsson, who left a remote farm in east Iceland to create a new life and identity as a barber named “Fred” in Brooklyn, came to mind. Despite this personal connection, Thórarinsdóttir considers travels and resettlement abroad as part of the great migration of Nordic peoples. And, though the artist’s two sons serve as models for her work, the sculptures are anonymous forms that highlight life´s journey, connectivity and the universal human experience. Wayfinders includes an installation of Thórarinsdóttir’s watercolors, rapid sketches created as a direct expression of the ideas and concepts that inform her sculptural work. Wayfinders is organized by Leslie Anne Anderson, Chief Curator, National Nordic Museum.


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