The icelandic word Sólfar is “The Sun Voyager” in english.
It’s a sculpture made from stainless steel by the icelandic artist Jón Gunnar Árnason (1931–1989) in 1986 and set up at the coast in Reykjavik. You can find it beside the street called Sæbraut looking to the sea in the northern direction.
It’s a stylized model of a viking ship with five vikings on board sailing to the north. I don’t want to sum up all the controversy discussions about finding the right location during the planning phases between the artist and the city government. If you want to read it, head over to wikipedia and search for the sun voyager.
This sculpture is quite big: 9 m × 7 m × 18 m (29.5 ft × 22.9 ft × 59 ft) and you should definitely visit it, when in Iceland. I’d recommend, visiting it at twilight.
I like this amazing sculpture very much. The material stands for me for the power of the vikings and their bravery. They trusted their tiny boats so much, that they entrusted their lives to them and undertook very risky voyages on the rough northern ocean without knowing what they would finally find.
You can also see, each man does not have very much room on the boat and they have had oar blades by the sides for each of them. The five men on board have lifted their arms. Are they happy about finding new land or found back home again? Is it a victory in raid or in a war?
The polished stones below the boat symbolize the endless ocean carrying the tiny boats and reflecting the idea that the ocean is the basis of the vikings life. Here, the ocean is not much bigger than the boat, while head and tail of the boat jutting out of the ocean. This symbolizes the idea, that the bravery of the vikings is the key to reach every possible coast. Their home shores weren’t their borders and the round shape of this ocean symbolizes the endlessness of the ocean.
It’s often very hard to photograph art. Often, you can only take photographs of the material or a few details. But, this sculpture has so much to tell and is set up in such an amazing location, that you can’t screw it up. Come, stay for a while, walk around, watch it from different angles and let the sculpture talk to you for a few minutes. Afterwards, take out your camera and let the sculpture be your photo model to take your own interpretation of this amazing sculpture.