• Atkvæðaseðill 1918


Iceland’s 100 years as a sovereign state.

  • 17.7.2018 - 16.12.2018, Listasafn Íslands

2018 marks the  100th anniversary of Iceland becoming a free and sovereign state. Iceland was governed by Denmark from the 14th century until 1918.

The dissolution of the union with Denmark was peaceful. On 1st December 1918, following an Icelandic plebiscite, the Act of Union between Iceland and Denmark took effect, and with it, the Kingdom of Iceland came into being. Although Icelanders had enjoyed a special status within the Kingdom of Denmark, not least on account of Iceland’s language and cultural heritage, it was not a foregone conclusion that Iceland would be able to stand alone as a sovereign state. During the first half of the 20th century, considerable emphasis was placed on strengthening the infrastructure of Icelandic society and advancing technological development in as many areas as possible.

The exhibition Blossoming is about Iceland’s 100 years as a sovereign state. The exhibition title references Halldór Laxness’s novel Independent People and, like that work, the exhibition explores a deep yearning for independence. The exhibition is also about how precious and fragile sovereignty is. During its hundred-year history, the sovereign state of Iceland has faced many adversities with regard to its economic and cultural independence, control over marine resources, nature conservation, and participation and responsibility in international cooperation. Just like a small and hardy flower, sovereignty needs nourishment, and that nourishment includes, amongst other things, exchanging views and sharing the world with other people.

“Everything beings with a conversation, nothing starts without it.” These are the words of Icelandic writer Sigurður Pálsson in 2016. The exhibition Blossoming invites visitors to engage in a conversation with the past about the many-faceted nature of sovereignty.