The International Visits Program North Americantour by Mats WibeLund, whose specialty is aerialphotos of Icelandic farms intheir natural settings has beengraded highly successful by all 11 host clubs.
Mats’ obsession is to take a picture of every farm in Iceland. He flies all over the country to capture the natural beauty of their surroundings, be it a river, glacier, geyser, mountain or volcano. The result is a huge data base of beautiful photographs, over 300,000 of them. Mats concentrated on family farms for his tour, which ran from September 24 to October 16.
Mats moved to Iceland from Norway in 1954, and settled in Reykjavík in 1966. He studied aerial photography in the Royal Norwegian Air Force, with NATO in France, and at college in Germany from 1956-62. Mats Wibe Lund’s work reflects Iceland in all its many and varied shades and moods. Over the years, he has taken part in several joint exhibitions both in Iceland and abroad, and staged numerous one-man exhibitions in his adopted country. For his North American tour, organized by the International Visits Program of the INL of NA with the support of Icelandair, presentations were customized for each location to show ancestral farms of people in that area. The first stop was Minneapolis.
Minneapolis, September 24, Chris Byron
Mats Wibe Lund’s presentation in Minneapolis was the first in his visitation tour. He gave a great show, excellent quality on pictures, great geographical knowledge of Iceland, willing to share and respond to any question. All in all a very worthwhile presentation and afternoon. I certainly recommend that every one encourage your membership to attend. They will learn a great deal and like myself get a better understanding of what is meant by the use of the words Icelandic Farm, at least looking back to immigration days. I fully enjoyed it.
Toronto, Icelandic Canadian Club of Toronto, September 26, Gail Einarson-McCleery
“Wow, what a beautiful country!” “Does the sun always shine in Iceland?” “I didn’t know there was so much flat land for farms” “It is so incredible to see my ancestors’ farm from above, so different from just visiting it, as one sees the whole surroundings”, “It was an interesting presentation and great to meet Mats after years of looking at his work.” Those were just some of the comments from Mats Wibe Lund’s Ancestral Farms show in Toronto. Mats’ pictures were so crisp and beautiful that the audience of 30 ICCT members and general public were very impressed. His knowledge of the geography of the whole country, which mountain was to the left and which glacier was to the right in the pictures, was phenomenal, and his sense of humour added a lot to the presentation.One interesting fact which emerged was about how he got those beautiful images. Of course, all of them are from the air ... it turns out that the number of days per year in which it is possible to get those kind of images is limited to about six weeks in the summer ... and taking into account cloudy days, visibility, availability of aircraft and pilots, Mats’ availability, and the challenge of getting exactly the right angle of light, and the right perspective to capture the surroundings so well, all of this from a moving airplane, it is a wonder that he has over 300,000 spectacular pictures.
Ottawa, Friends of Iceland, September 28, Sig Sigurdson
Mats Wieb Lund’s presentation and running commentary on the geography of Iceland and the ancestral farms kept his audience thoroughly entertained for over an hour. In this case, if more time had been allocated for this presentation, the majority of people in the audience would have enjoyed seeing many more of Mats’ pictures of the rugged beauty of the Icelandic landscapes. All of these pictures are certainly one of Iceland’s best kept secrets. Mats gave so very generously of his time, answering the continuing flow of questions after the presentation and through the latter part of the evening at the reception. The event was held in the Ambassador’s Viewing Room. Sigríður Anna Þórðardóttir, Ambassador from Iceland to Canada, hosted a reception in Mats’ honour.Without a doubt, this was one of the best presentations that we have seen in a long, long time. Thirty-seven members of the FOI – Ottawa were in attendance.
Arborg, Esjan Club, October 2, David Gislason
Mats’ visit to Arborg was a happy one all around. His wife, Arndís, has many family connections in the area, which added to their enjoyment. Mats went through a lengthy list of fabulous pictures, which highlighted the beauty and diversity of the Icelandic landscape. His audience of approximately 75 was keenly interested in this connection with their ancestral geography.Members of the Esjan Chapter took Mats and Arndís on a tour of this part of historic New Iceland. Mats was captivated by some of the early buildings that still remain, both as restored artefacts in the Arborg and District Heritage Village and as a few still to be found in their original settings. The tour took in the Betsy Ramsay gravesite, Riverton Heritage Park and Hecla Island. The restored Hecla Village is one of our best representations of Icelandic influence and culture in this area. The Island was populated almost exclusively by Icelandic people, and Parks Manitoba has preserved it in its 1940s and 50s architecture. On the Island they were treated to a barbeque out on the veranda of an island home. In this relaxing atmosphere they could gaze out over Lake Winnipeg, with Black Island just across the Narrows. On every hand, the Island was adorned in its bright autumn colours. The forest has an appealing mix of trees that burst into their various hues just at this time of year. A visit to this area is not complete without a visit with Arborg’s famous bird carver, Einar Vigfusson, and his wife Rosalind. In the summertime, their home becomes a gallery replete with many examples of Einar’s art. Mats had a small camera with him, and vows to return with his professional gear.
Edmonton, October 8, Icelandic Canadian Club of Edmonton, Bev Arason-Gaudet
October 8th was a beautiful and sunny day in Edmonton and approximately 44 members of the Icelandic Canadian Club of Edmonton came out to the Dutch Canadian Centre, home of the Scandinavians, to meet Mats Wibe Lund and view his extraordinary photographs. The names of 34 family farms had been submitted and Mats surely did not disappoint. The joy of seeing family farms for the first time was evident on the faces of all who attended. There were many questions for Mats following the show and he graciously spent time with everyone while enjoying coffee and a selection of cookies, cakes, pies and fruit.
Vancouver, October 11, Kristjana Helgason
Mats and Arndís arrived in Vancouver Monday morning and were greeted by Oli Leifsson. He took them to his house in Port Moody and they had a little rest before heading down to the Scandinavian Centre, the venue for the show.On Tuesday morning Oli took them to Burnaby Mountain. The weather did not cooperate, raining on and off so the view from the mountain was not the nicest. For lunch they went to Hofn, the Icelandic old folks home, a new beautiful old folks home, had a nice lunch there and took a tour around the facilities.Tuesday evening was the show. Around 35 people came out. The pictures were beautiful, few of the people had never been to Iceland and really appreciated to see the farms where their family came from. After the show, people socialized over coffee and goodies, the evening ended around 10 o’clock. Wednesday morning Oli took them for a drive to Vancouver and in the afternoon dropped them off at Coquitlam mall for some shopping. Thursday the weather got a little better so Oli took them sightseeing around Horseshoe Bay and Stanley Park for the day. Friday morning he drove them to Blaine.
Blaine WA, Rob Olason
Mats Weibe Lund’s twenty-four hour visit to Blaine was brief but sweet. Roxanne Tranberg enjoyed the presentation and said Mats’ photos “whetted her appetite to visit Iceland.” The twenty plus attendees were captivated with the images of ancestral farms nestled in valleys or clinging to the base of steep mountainsides. Mats kept the show lively with his descriptions, quips and humorous anecdotes. At the potluck prior to the show, Vikki Finnson enjoyed visiting with Mats’ wife, Arndís. Harold Olason thought Mats was “quite a character, who liked to tease.” He also said that hosting Mats and Arndís was like having a visit with old friends. Ever the photographer, Mats was snapping pictures of eagles from the Olason’s back deck, and capturing images of Blaine and neighboring Birch Bay landscapes on a brief tour of the area.
Seattle, October 16, Henry Bjornsson
Mats Wibe Lund made his last presentation at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle before an enthusiastic audience. As he has in other venues, he concentrated on images of the family farms of ancestors of people in the audience. Following his presentation, he answered questions about his aerial photography project, and how to order downloads and prints. With his transcontinental tour complete, he and Arndís returned to Iceland the next day on a direct flight from Seattle to Reykjavík.
And the last word goes to Mats Wibe Lund, October 20, IcelandKæru vinir – Dear friends in INL of NA – in each and every club which we visited, thanks for the good time we spent together – thakka ykkur kaerlega fyrir sidast.Arndís and I are now back again in Iceland after almost four weeks of visiting and sharing good times with you. We thank you so much for the great hospitality we were shown. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting each and every one of you. Words can simply not thank you enough. We look forward to being in touch again sooner or later – and just want to assure you that we appreciate getting news from you about how we can follow up and nurish the seeds that we planted together. Bringing the former homesteads of our ancestors up front, wakes up the past and lets us remind our younger ones of their roots.
Með bestu kveðju,
Arndís og Mats