Distant Voices: from Iceland to Viking Wirral at the Grosvenor Museum

By Sarah Jackson | 15 August 2013 | Updated: 07 August 2013

Exhibition Preview: Distant Voices: from Iceland to Viking Wirral, Grosvenor Museum, Chester, August 10 - November 3 2013

Sylvia Hikins, Falling in Love (with the landscape) (2010)
Sylvia Hikins, Falling in Love (with the landscape) (2010)© Sylvia Hikins
Sylvia Hikins, a poet, painter and music-maker from West Kirby on the Wirral, first visited Iceland in 2009. She said she “was completely blown over (sometimes quite literally) by the extraordinary landscape”.

Returning many times since then, including a flight in a tiny Cessna airplane over the erupting Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010, she has previously exhibited works inspired by Icelandic landscapes in 2010 and 2012.

Viking artefacts including coins, jewellery and grave goods dating from the tenth century found in Meols and Chester are displayed alongside paintings and poetry inspired by the wild landscape of Iceland and Viking Wirral.

“Painting, writing and poetry are all ways in which I respond to the world around me,” says Hikins.

“Part of the fascination is the tangible links with Viking Wirral, a shared common heritage where we once spoke Old Norse, the same language as the Icelanders. 

"When I stare out into the Dee Estuary I can still see those wild expanses of ice, fire, mountain, sea, and a sky full of dancing Northern Lights.”

Many of the paintings, including Falling in love (with the landscape) and a series inspired by the trouble-making Eyjafjallajokull volcano, are accomapanied by the poems - deepening the connections between the artist, Iceland and the Wirral.

A programme of accompanying events including Hiding the Trolls, where children and families can search for hidden faces in volcanic lava and craft a likeness to take home for themselves, accompany the exhibition.

Lectures on Viking history and culture, exhibition tours with the artist and an evening of poetry and Nordic music are also planned for the autumn.

  • Open 10.30am-5pm (1pm-4pm Sunday). Admission free.

Sylvia Hikins, Jokulsarlon (2010)
Sylvia Hikins, Jokulsarlon (2010)© Sylvia Hikins

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