Solar Voyager

The gleaming steel sculpture on Reykjavik’s splendid waterfront that resembles a Viking long-ship is the ‘Solfara’ or ‘Sun Voyager.’ The striking landmark was created by Jon Gunnar Arnason. 

It is a common misunderstanding that Sun Voyager is a Viking ship. It is quite understandable that many tourists think like this when travelling in Iceland, the land of the sagas. Nonetheless, it should be stressed that this was not the original intention.

Jón Gunnar was himself very ill with leukaemia at the time that the full-scale Sun Voyager came to be constructed, and he died in April 1989, a year before it was placed in its present location. Some people have thus suggested that Jón Gunnar conceived the work during this period, at a time when he might have been preoccupied with death, and argued that Sun Voyager should be seen as a vessel that transports souls to the realm of death. While this is a nice idea and might be imagined to have some validity, it actually has little truth (at least from the point of view of the artist). As noted above, Sun Voyager was essentially envisaged as being a dreamboat, an ode to the sun symbolizing light and hope.

Facing the majestic Mt. Esja, it is a wonderful spot for photo opportunities whether enjoying a midday stroll or taking in the full significance of the artwork’s name during the summer’s Midnight Sun.

 

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