The Tale of Tails of Iceland
What drew us to this subject of horses and people, specifically those in Iceland? I have always had a love of horses in general, from playing with plastic versions instead of dolls as a child, to my first riding lessons at ten, all the way to briefly owning my own horse as a young adult. As is the thing that happens many times, I moved away from them in the course of life, and it wasn’t until many years later that a series of events led us here.
We first visited Iceland in 2014 and fell head over heels in love with all of it. In a world of turmoil and escalation of man’s inhumanity toward man, this country shines like a beacon of hope, representing a simpler societal construct of acceptance, hard work, community and self-sufficient survival. We fell hard and deep in a mere four days.
There was no going back, but alas we had to, and on the return flight, we met a newlywed twenty-something native Icelandic couple on their way to their honeymoon. After chatting the whole trip, we exchanged contact information, and Facebook being the great equalizer at that time, we all became “friends.” We then came to learn that the young man, Kári Örn Hinriksson, had been battling a rare, virulent type of cancer since the age of seventeen and, at that time, had been given two years to live. Ten years later, Kári was still dealing with the disease and fighting a proper fight to stay alive, but he was also using this as a marker to really live a life that is full and good.
When we decided to return to Iceland the following summer of 2015, we spent a day with Kári and Júlíana, who introduced us to their family horses. Their bond was evident even in those few minutes watching Kári chase them around and talk about how each got their names. It was a magical day that served to enhance our curiosity and desire to learn more about this country, the people and of course, the horses.
We received word six months later that Kári had passed away of complications. Among many other things, he left behind the gift of a friendship between us, his mother Erna Arnardóttir who is a lifelong horsewoman, and his father, Hinrik Glyfason.
In 2017, I was looking for inspiration for a new art project, and after a moment of epiphany during a conversation with Erna one day, we decided to begin a journey together to create a documentation of the passion and relationships between the horses of Iceland, the people, and how they are intertwined.
We are inspired by the memory of Kári who had, in our early talks, voiced one of the deeper meanings of what it is to be alive: "Being remembered. When you leave this earth, you can tell yourself that you left something behind."
We know with absolute certainty that he already has, and we are honored to dedicate this project in remembrance of Kári.
Tails of Iceland Creators:
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