Skammdegi in Icelandic means the Dark Winter, a condition that is a yearly right of passage in this part of the world. At it’s darkest on December 21, the mysterious local daylight is present for less than 4 hours, the rest is night. Surrounded by mountains on three sides and looking directly at the Northern Atlantic on the other, Olafsfjordur in North Iceland is the uniquely beautiful location of Listhús í Fjallabyggð. During the months of December and January, the sun never rises higher than the surrounding mountains. The land is covered by a mysterious light reflected from the snow-covered mountains. The atmosphere creates a special environmental and emotional challenge. Local people eager to raise their spirits in the long night light up their houses with colourful lights and celebrate the distinctive Icelandic Christmas traditions till January 6th. As the winter progresses, the sun gradually climbs the mountains until the first ray of sunshine glows on the highest local peak on January 21. By the end of the month the sunshine will once again reach the town itself.
Having recently completed its fifth running, Skammdegi Festival has formed a distinct character. Our principal aim of is providing a hospitable environment and a rare atmosphere for artists doing experiments that they cannot implement elsewhere. While the location is remote and doesn’t have the resources present in a larger city, our artists feel the freedom of creation. The residency duration is long enough for artists to explore a new place, establish a new idea and achieve its implementation.
The selected creative practitioners are offered a two to three months artist residency program between December to February. Through the long stay, artists can totally get into an extraordinary nature and culture, in order to have a big change in both physical and mental ways, evaluation of the value of art and life. We arranged art tour, meeting, presentation and discussion around north Iceland. We also encouraged the participants to establish an intimate relationship with locals through daily life encounter and public engagement program.