On June 28, 2013 Reykjavik City Hall hosted an exhibition entitled The Art of Being Icelandic, which was result of its collaboration with UNESCO and a project known as the “City of Literature.” The exhibition focused on Icelandic literature in translation and design, and provided Johann Sigmarsson with his first public venue for exhibiting the handmade furniture he had constructed out of the remains of the old harbor in Reykjavík. This appropriately coincided with the harbor’s 100 year anniversary. All the furniture was sold at the exhibition and was lauded in the media for its original design and attractive style.
The armchair, “The Gift of the Spirit” was selected for The World Interiors’ News Annual Awards in 2013, an international competition in architecture which is a part of The World Architecture News.
The award ceremony was held at the Saatchi Gallery in London November 28, 2013. The Saatchi Gallery is currently considered as one of the three most highly respected private galleries in the world. The World Architecture News (WAN) is one of the major international organizations in this field and is now the world’s leading supplier of news to the global architectural community.
Andrew Graham-Dixon art historian and
broadcaster was the evening introducer.
(From the awards ceremony in Saatchi Gallery).
In December 2013 the armchair, “The Gift of the Spirit,” and desk, “SomethingRegal,” by Johann Sigmarsson were selected for the Design Award & Competition 2014 in Milan. In April 2014 the competition announced the armchair got Runner-up for A’Design Award and the desk is A’Design Winner.
From the preparation and creation of the exhibition in Reykjavík
Above left photo; sculpture in working process of a victim in the moment before the burning exposure flashed from the atomic bomb in Hiroshima / above middle photo; Toma Toshiki motif for one of the sculptures / above right photo; Jóhann Sigmarsson creating his sculptures of Hiroshima Victims.
That autumn in Hiroshima it was said “For Seventy-five years nothing will grow” However, new buds sprouted and the green that came back to life. Among the charred ruins people recovered their living hopes and courage.
Thursday, December 15 2016, the opening of exhibition “When The Atomic Bomb Exploded” at Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavík, Iceland is dedicated to memorise the victims of the United States atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. In August 6th 1945 the explosion killed 70,000 people in one fell swoop. A large part of the city was devastated, the heat of the explosion was so great that shadows of people were burned cast into stone walls and pavements. The Sculptures in this exhibition are based on those shadows and are carved from over 100-year old wooden planks salvaged from the recently excavated old Reykjavik harbour. The project is created and implemented by The Equator Memorial Project which is a platform for artists working with contents and artefacts related to historical events. For the exhibition the city of Hiroshima has donated for the first time tiles of the Genbaku Dome building, one of the most characteristic buildings of the city. The Dome was destroyed in the atomic bombing, these tiles are now preserved as part of this Memorial, devoted to peace and are now part of the exhibition at Harpa. The President of Iceland, Mr. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and Ambassador of Japan in Iceland, Mr. Yasuhiko Kitagawa opened the exhibition. In the presidents opening speech he talked of the exhibition highlighting how the tragedy of war impacts on innocent people. Like in Hiroshima this is happening now and has been for years in Aleppo and many other places all over the world. Peace is needed by any means.
Hiroshima Victim – sculpture created from over 100 years old wood from Reykjavík Harbour. Artists Jóhann Sigmarsson.
From left; Ambassador of Japan in Iceland, Mr. Yasuhiko Kitagawa, Japanese model for motifs of sculpture of Hiroshima victims created from over 100 years old wood salvaged from the recently excavated old Reykjavik Harbour, Ms. Nina Katrín Jónsdóttir Ichihashi, Jóhann Sigmarsson Artist, President of Iceland, Mr. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and Japanese model for motif of sculpture of Hiroshima victims created from over 100 years old wood salvaged from the recently excavated old Reykjavik harbour Ms. Asako Ichihashi.
For the exhibition the city of Hiroshima has donated for the first time tiles of the Genbaku Dome building, one of the most characteristic buildings of the city. The Dome was destroyed in the atomic bombing, these tiles are now preserved as part of this Memorial, devoted to peace and are now part of the exhibition at Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavík, Iceland. The President of Iceland, Mr. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and Ambassador of Japan in Iceland, Mr. Yasuhiko Kitagawa opened the exhibition. In the presidents opening speech he talked of the exhibition highlighting how the tragedy of war impacts on innocent people. Like in Hiroshima this is happening now and has been for years in Aleppo and many other places all over the world. Peace is needed by any means.
Art piece / “match of a shadow of old woman walking in stairs when the exposure and heat came” created from over 100 years old planks from Reykjavík Harbour.
Ruins of a tile from the roof of Genbaku Dome, the most precious building which is still standing in Hiroshima as a symbol of the tragedy. The atom bomb exploded in front of the dome above the ground. The tiles were found over 30 years later in the river Motoyasu.
Hiroshima Victims – sculptures created from over 100 yaers old wood from Reykjavík Harbour.
Artists Jóhann Sigmarsson.
Exhibition Artist; Jóhann Simarsson, Guest Artist; Steingrímur Eyfjörð, Exhibition Curator; Jón Proppé, Japanese models for motifs of sculptures of Hiroshima victims created from over 100 years old wood from Reykjavík Harbour;Toma Toshiki, Asako Ichihashi, Nina Katrín Jónsdóttir Ichihashi and Nagisa Hirose, Studio Coordinator; Daniel Howard Newton,
Photographs; Ómar Sverrisson, Jóhann Sigmarsson, Daniel Howard Newton and Marteinn Thorsson, Assistants to exhibition; Gunnar Svanur, Árni Ingólfsson, Jón Guðjónsson, Davíð Þór Jónsson, Guðjón Baldursson, Mao Malgorzata, Gunnar Gunnarsson and Bryndís Erla Zoega. Documentary teaser; Marteinn Thorsson. Exhibition Producer; 40,074KM EHF / Jóhann Sigmarsson.
A few years ago Sigmarsson decided to create and build furniture from the old wood planks he had salvaged from the old harbour in Reykjavík. The armchair “The Gift of the Spirit,” and desk “SomethingRegal,” are some of the pieces he has designed and built, gaining international design awards and recognitions for all around the globe.
Due to the interest that the furniture from the old Harbour of Reykjavík aroused, Sigmarsson was inspired to develop the project further in the environmental way. Making use of his contacts abroad, especially those in Germany, he acquired some old wood from the Port of Hamburg together with pieces from original L- and T – concrete elements of the Berlin border wall. When Sigmarsson applied for another historical materials from two other countries it was realised that the project had transformed into a new concept which is connecting history, environment, design and art together. He now plans to create art pieces from these materials in cooperation with international artists. The aim is to select a number of historic sites and structures worldwide to persuade the relevant authorities to help create functional objects and art from historical materials related to the sites and historical events. The projects are now collectively known as The Equator Memorial Project which is idea, concept, History and Art project founded by Johann Sigmarsson.
Sigmarsson notes; The strong message in the exhibition; that governments should not be playing with nuclear weapon power. Governments should pursue their duty by creating sustainable communities with a strong emphasis on the environment, education and creativity instead of globalised corporate military fear driven society.
The Equator Memorial Project is a group of international artists who are creating art pieces and functional objects by recycling historical materials of ruins from world heritage sites. The mission is to hold a series of exhibitions in chosen museums and galleries worldwide in support of sustainable environment, justice, freedom and peace. At each exhibition approximately 50 – 60 art pieces will be presented and created by a selection of international artists. A part of the income for each sold or rented piece will be allocated to a charity fund for humanitarian and community projects. Confirmed materials: the Reykjavík Harbour, the Hamburg Port, the Berlin Wall, Hiroshima (A bomb) and two broken windows from office of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in the Norwegian government’s headquarters in Central Oslo after it was damaged from terrorist attack by Anders Behring Breivik. Plans have been drawn up to obtain materials from; the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane, which has been preserved untouched since almost all its inhabitants were massacred on June 10, 1944, the Czech village of Lidice, 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, former Soviet Union – GULAG, Colosseum, ruins of the Buddhas of Bamiyan which where destroyed in Afghanistan by Taliban in 2001 to demolish holy icons and disrespect ideologic of the religion, the Basque town of Guernica, Liverpool and the slave trade, Graveyard of Lenin monuments and Stalin statues.
The task is to have a series of exhibitions in galleries or museums worldwide in support of a sustainable environment, justice, freedom and peace.
“The Next Exhibiton”
Johann Sigmarsson at Headquarters of UNESCO in Paris
The Headquarters of UNESCO in Paris is collaborating with The Equator Memorial Project and envisages favourably to exhibit a collection of the art pieces at their headquarters. H. E. Mr. Kristjan Andri Stefánsson, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Iceland to France, Permanent Delegate has now sent a formal proposal to the Headquarters of UNESCO of our request for the exhibition. The idea is to have the exhibition for support of sustainable environment, justice, freedom and peace, opening at 5th of June 2019 in the honour of the 45th Anniversary of World Environment Day. The theme of the exhibition will be material from all the historical materials / ruins which has been donated to the project and the historical informations on the pieces. The Exhibition will end with an charity event at 28th of June in honour of 100 years anniversary of Treaty of Versailles with auction and Peace memorial dinner “Make a Peace Worldwide” at the headquarters.17th of November 2019 in the honour of the 22nd Anniversary of The International Day of Peace is announcement of gifts to humanitarian and community projects worldwide which has been accumulated through the sale of the artworks of The Equator Memorial Project and its artists charity fund.
The President of Iceland, Mr. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson sent Official Letter of Recommendation to support the exhibition to the Director-General of UNESCO, Mrs Audrey Azoulay.