The artists Bryndís Björnsdóttir and Steinunn Gunnlaugsdóttir who have allegedly placed the statue bronze statue of Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir and her son, Snorri Þorfinnsson inside a rocket on a launchpad, have released an official statement, Vísir reports.
The artists have called their work “Carry-On: The First White Mother in Outer Space”. Their statement focuses on the three things:
- ‘Luggage Limit: The First White Mother In Space’ is not an attack on characters–not the artist who made it, nor the Living Art Museum, nor any other individual.
- The artists have not confessed to the theft, despite what has been reported.
- The artists challenged the police to return the statue to its previous location; in front of the Marshall House.
The artists criticised the original intent of the statue, which they characterised as Guðríður’s life “simplified into a white female body giving birth to a white child in an area inhabited by heathen people of color – people who were later killed in the millions by another wave of settlers.”
Through Iceland validating the work, this is in effect “connecting it to the complex and painful story of the bloody origins of the ‘America’ to which the title of the work refers.” They also see the Marshall House as an ideal location, given its own connections to America, i.e. the Marshall Plan. While emphasising that no one at the Marshall House played a part in this act, they say that the act was “our professional decision because the work required us to make the most of artistic freedom.”
The statement says in part: “The work The Luggage Limit: The First White Mother In Space sums up an ideology that prevailed in Icelandic society when the statue was made—and still exists today. This ideology is called racism and has deep, cultural and systemic roots.” The artists also criticized the media, who claimed they confessed to stealing the statue and said the police have removed the statue from the exhibition space in the Living Art Museum, without notifying the artists, nor the museum.
The full statement, in Icelandic, can be found here.
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