On a map, the furthest peninsulas of the Westfjords Region of northwest Iceland resemble fingers or petals spanning out into the Atlantic Ocean. In the summer, visitors travel along its isolated routes to take in the picturesque and dramatic scenery, and in the winter, its mountainous terrain transforms into a starkly beautiful panorama of snowy mountains and icy waters. In a village called Thingeyri, when the tourist destinations shut for the season, an artist residency makes the most of the quiet and the landscape.
Begun in 2015 by a Belgian-Danish couple who relocated to Thingeyri to remodel a historic house, Westfjords Residency has grown out of a longterm vision to create a community-focused cultural space in the region. In the summer, they operate a coffeehouse called Simbahöllin along with a mountain bike rental service and horseback riding. By September, when the days get shorter and colder, the shop closes for the season, but the residency is just getting started.
Running annually between September 15 – May 10, the program invites creative practitioners working in all disciplines who find inspiration in nature, landscape, and community. Self-led individual or group residencies are available, plus creative volunteering opportunities that are available in the summer and sometimes in the winter, depending on the scope of the project. Residents are responsible for their own transportation, food, and schedule, and have the use of a flexible live-work space in a converted warehouse called The Harbor House, as well as a traditional small house. All accommodation spaces include bed linens, bath towels, and shared bathroom and shower, laundry facilities and kitchens with basic cookware.
The 2022 season is currently at capacity, but the program accepts email applications on a rolling basis for independent stays. You can find more information on their website.
All images © Westfjords Residency, shared with permission.