From Iceland — A Symbol Of Hope

A Symbol Of Hope

Published August 18, 2011

Artist Nikhil Kirsh Talks About His Painting Of The Constitutional Committee

A Symbol Of Hope
Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Nikhil Kirsh

Artist Nikhil Kirsh Talks About His Painting Of The Constitutional Committee

It’s not every morning that an artist wakes up and decides, “You know what would be great? Doing portraits of government appointees.” But artist Nikhil Kirsh did exactly that, predominantly for ideological reasons.

“When I found out about the constitutional committee,” he told me, “I just immediately saw the finished painting in my head. It’s like that with me—when I get an idea, I see it done, and then it’s just a run to the finish line.”

But why paint the Constitutional Committee?
“Beforehand, I had learned about The Movement [a recent Icelandic political party derived from the country’s activist base]. I don’t know much about Icelandic politics, but I met them, and felt I connected with them. But I was in the mood to do something truly epic. I think the people picked to be on the constitutional committee represent a pretty good symbol of hope.”

Logistically, painting the committee was a bit complicated. Kirsh explained that he had to photograph different portions separately, as not all members of the committee were available at the same time, and juggling the varying schedules stretched out photographing the subjects over a period of three weeks.
And his impressions of the committee as a whole?

“Everyone I spoke to seemed committed to what they were doing,” he said. “They were working together on a project that they believe is socially important. Their convictions are pinpointed on a collective goal.”

Kirsh also says he has his fingers crossed to get his painting into parliament. “I think a portrait of this eclectic group would look great alongside the portraits of old men they have hanging on the walls,” he says with a laugh.

Until the painting makes it into parliament, you can see it yourself—along with his other works of Icelanders—at Gallery Fold on August 20.

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