This years Reykjavík Arts Festival focuses on gender issues in the arts, as well as censorship and rights struggle. This week, we’re talking to prominent women in the Reykjavík arts scene about the festival’s history, and about equality in the arts.
Yesterday we spoke to artist Ragnheiður Harpa Liefsdóttir, and today it’s Katrín Jakobsdóttir, a member of the Alþingi and former Culture Minister of Iceland (2009-2013).
This year’s focus is women in art. Do you think there’s still some way to go for equality in art, and the arts generally?
We should be conscious that the inequality between men and women is deep-rooted. There is a reason for the existence of The Guerilla Girls! I think it´s healthy for everyone to ask critical questions (are men and women equal in the arts?) and if we find out that things could be better we should explore the reasons for inequality and try to make things more equal in a creative way. Sometimes the main thing is to identify and understand the problem – then the solutions can come quite easily…
How long have you been going to Reykjavík Art Festival / how has it developed in that time?
My first memory of the Reykjavík Art Festival are the concerts of Fine Young Cannibals and Madness in the 80s – then I was too young to attend, but how I longed for it! I started attending event in the 90s.
What are your best memories of the festival?
The giantess that walked the streets of Reykjavík in 2007, Víkingur Heiðar playing the piano in 2009, the flying acrobats over Austurvöllur in 2011… so many good memories.
What do you think Reykjavík Arts festival brings to the life of the city?
The arts and culture are an important factor in every society and maybe you can best feel it when a community lacks arts and culture. The Reykjavík Arts Festival has contributed greatly to the arts and culture scene in Reykjavík, bringing the arts to the people, and making all our lives a little more interesting.
Do you think the city’s young artists & art students benefit?
Absolutely! Not least because the Reykjavík Arts Festival is organised so people can participate out on the streets (not everybody can afford to pay for the tickets).
Find out more about the festival at artsfest.is.