Skógræktarfélag Íslands has the pleasure to announce the opening of the exhibition “The Women who plant trees” in collaboration with American visual artist Christalena Hughmanick (www.christalenahughmanick.com/) and the Alliance Francaise of Reykjavík (www.af.is/).
In August 2021, Skógræktarfélag Íslands began a collaboration with Christalena Hughmanick for a special project linking art and forestry, with the ambition to bring the world of forestry to the general public through art. The purpose of this project was to give visibility to the women who have been and still are participating in the reforestation efforts led in Iceland since the 1930s, to share their perspective, and to show how they engage daily with their forests.
The focus was put on the North of Iceland. This area was not only chosen because it is one of the most anciently forested places of the country, but also because the four volunteer forestry associations of the area and the biggest tree nursery of Iceland, situated in Akureyri, are all managed by women.
The goal was to understand what links people to their forests. The project therefore explores how forests embody the collective ambition to address the environmental crisis and improve life conditions in Iceland for almost a century. Christalena Hughmanick recorded nature sounds such as wind blowing through trees and collected the biographies of inspiring women from the North and more. She also led a mediation event at the heart of Kjarnaskógur with women from the forestry associations of Ólafsfjörður and Eyjafjörður, at the occasion of which they could meet and connect to nature together by mobilizing all their senses. The event was recorded and can be listened to on Youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tMIfDsru-c.
It is the result of those investigations that Christalena will be presenting in her exhibition. She will be releasing a digital album containing the interviews with some of the women she has met as well as nature sounds that she has recorded. These interviews and photographs of her travels in 2021 will be displayed for the duration of the exhibition. The title of the exhibition is inspired by “The man who planted trees”, a short essay by Jean Giono written in 1953 about Elzéard Bouffier, a sheep farmer who takes upon himself to plant oaks and birch trees in the French mountains of Provence and presents – in a beautiful way – the social and environmental improvements happening over the years for the small mountain community. A story resonating a lot with the history of the Icelandic forestry during the 20th century.
The opening of the exhibition will be on Friday 2nd of December 2022, at 6:30pm, at the Alliance Francaise, Tryggvagata 8, 2nd floor. Christalena Hughmanick will be presenting her work, the pictures, and the album to the visitors, and excerpts of “The man who planted trees” will be read in Icelandic, French and English. The online event can be found on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/863001364879565/863001388212896/?ref=newsfeed
Christalena Hughmanick will also be holding a cyanotype workshop event at the Alliance Francaise to teach about natural dyes and eco-prints on fabric with forest material. The event will be held on Saturday 3rd of December from 11am to 15pm. It is possible to register here for the workshop:
She will then stay to welcome visitors until 6pm to answer questions about her work and the exhibition.