The interesting world of Samúel Jónsson

Sometimes you see photos that make you think “I REALLY want to see this some day.” This is how I have always felt about the artworks of Samúel Jónsson. It’s hard to describe what they actually are – sculptures? Statues? Does it matter?

They are the results of the labour of a man who finally had the time to put his dream to life once he reached retirement. He offered an altar he made to his local church. It was rejected, so he built his own church around the altar.

Inside the church, which I never imagined to be so finished

Inside the church, which I never imagined to be so finished

I find it moving when someone is so passionate about their particular hobby. I found examples of this over and over in the Westfjords.

Part of the attraction of this place is also the remoteness, having to drive down a long and bumpy road down to the mostly-ghost-town of Selárdalur. The drive itself is very interesting, passing the fjord where most of Iceland’s sea-monsters are reputed to live, with beaches that are almost tropical in appearance and  are worth a post of their own.

You might be thinking the site looks a little like a work in progress. The good news is that after 40 years, the site is slowly being restored and brought back to life by a dedicated group of volunteers. Work is underway both on the artworks and Jónsson’s original house.

I can see this might be a little “niche” for some people but this was one of the things on the trip that I liked even more than I thought I would! Apologies for the rain on some of the pictures, which was quite atmospheric but not popular with the camera.


13 thoughts on “The interesting world of Samúel Jónsson

  1. What a place!! And I’m really surprised too that the churchs looks so good inside. Before our trip I thought I would like to go there. But I have to say this long bumpy road as you said discouraged me a little bit from going there and we made other plans, instead. Maybe next time. 😉 Have a nice weekend.

    • Oh, that’s a shame. Well, for next time it really is an interesting drive (although yes, bumpy). The scenery was really impressive in places and quite unlike other coastlines in Iceland. I always say this but it’s good to have not seen everything as it gives you reasons to go back!

  2. I hope you are still looking at your blog. We are planning a trip to Iceland and are looking to find the statues in your pictures above. Can you tell us just where they are? Google Earth coordinated would be perfect! Thanks

    • Hi, you would need to go to Selardalur in the Westfjords – nearest town is Bildudalur, and from there you just drive along the coast road until you get there. I can’t remember how far but it was between 30-60 minutes. The road is very rough. Bildudalur has the Sea Monster Museum and a restaurant. Good luck – come back and let me know if you get there!

  3. Pingback: Dream day in Iceland | I'd Rather Be In Iceland

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