In June this year, URBAN NATION together with the British artist duo Nomad Clan and Hera, part of the artist duo Herakut, came to Iceland to create a One Wall as part of an international collaboration with the German Embassy in Reykjavík. But not just any One Wall! What was created here within two weeks is rather a memory of an important event in the common German-Icelandic history.

In 1949, 314 German women came to Iceland on a ship called “Esja”. Shortly after the Second World War, when their country was still in ruins and many of these women widowed and impoverished mourned their husbands, a new perspective arose for these women in a foreign country. Iceland – a country of which these women knew neither location nor language and which nevertheless became a place of longing for a new future. Iceland became a new home for these women. Here they found a safe home, work and some even a new love. Many of the so-called “Esja women” stayed in Iceland.

“Sadly we seem to live in times when nationalists call for barricading borders and building walls between people – mentally and physically. That is why it is especially important to shine light on the fact that humans have always been migrants, tapping into new and unknown territory and eventually melting with it, becoming part of new places, cultures, families. Stories of migration are in every country‘s DNA, its national identity. To remind people of that is crucial to uphold a culture welcoming immigrants.” (Hera)

The One Wall of the Nomad Clan and Hera, which is enormous in both content and scope, symbolizes the escape from one’s own country to a foreign land, the path on the familiar into the unknown. The gaze is always turned towards the new future, only the memories look back. But even these fade with time. “HOME IS WHERE YOU TAKE IT.”

Nomad Clan mural Iceland

There is a close relationship between Iceland and the URBAN NATION MUSEUM FOR URBAN CONTEMPORARY ART. Already in 2015 and 2016 there was “Wallpoetry” for the Iceland Airwaves Festival. Now a new large-format work has been realized in Reykjavík with the artists of the Nomad Clan and Hera (Herakut), which takes up a very special historical moment of the German-Icelandic relationship.

Special thanks go to the German Embassy in Reykjavík, especially to Mr. Beck and his wife, the ZMF Event GmbH (Griessmuehle), Henny Frimanns and of course the artists.