Icelandic Language Blog

Graffiti in Iceland Posted by on Sep 5, 2011 in Icelandic culture

I’m sorry this post is so late, I was having logging-in troubles and I still don’t know what exactly was wrong or how it got fixed.

Sometimes what looks like graffiti was actually art commissioned by the business that owns the wall it was painted on.

“Wow, what a cool showing is this” (or something like that)

This is the side of Café Babalu, a foreigner-friendly (and foreigner-run, I think) café that’s open late. Their seating is a bit bad though, especially if you’re sitting next to the door that goes out to the smoking patio. I’ve often seen groups of people knitting inside and they have lots of posters and artwork on the walls, although I’ll save photos of those for another post.

I have heard that “every second person in an artist”. The reason given is that Iceland is such a small and boring country that there’s nothing to do except read and practice art.

Pram parking.

“So-and-so is fat and ugly”.

My flatmate brought home a flyer with this phrase. Earlier I thought it was just tourists drawing stuff but maybe it’s for something else.

The photos below were all taken by my friend A. (Her blog is halfway about Iceland and halfway about herself, but she covers Iceland well.)

The coat of arms with cats. By the way, the new major of Reykjavík (Jón Gnarr) has the Reykjavík coat of arms tattoo’d on him.

“Just smile and hope for the best”

Some roofs have these glittery things on them, like the purple one to the left in this photo. It’s supposed to be a drop of lava from a volcano, I think. The roof of the building in the first photo of this post is silver and shaped like a snowy mountain top. My eyes are too bad so I can’t tell you exactly what it’s made out of.

You can buy photo-books of graffiti over the years from the capital in bookstores. Graffiti here isn’t usually painted over by the government or businesses, instead they basically let people draw wherever they want. In some cases, the graffiti is actually a tourist attraction.

Classes have started for me again at the University of Iceland, and so I’m planning to make posts on how to enroll in the University plus how to get/renew a living permit (if you’re from outside of Europe), and on what the classes are like. If there’s anything specific you want, like details on this class or photos of all the buildings, let me know.

Remember that we have a Facebook! I check it all the time in case someone posts questions on there. If you get a reply with someone using a funny name and an avatar of a guy in an Icelandic sweater, it’s me.

Keep learning Icelandic with us!

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About the Author: sequoia

I try to write about two-thirds of the blog topics on cultural aspects and one-third on the language, because there's much more out there already on the language compared to daily life information. I try to stay away from touristy things because there's more of that out there than anything else on Iceland, and I feel like talking about that stuff gives you the wrong impression of Iceland.