Outdoor art at Cedar Creek Reserve

Ordinary Vikings Outdoor Art installation by Swedish-American artist Jill Johnson and Viking stories by Ingibjorg Gisladottir of Iceland take place the weekends of Oct. 8-9 and 15-16 at University of Minnesota’s Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. Cedar Creek Reserve hosts its first visual artist and outdoor art installation as it continues the first year of its artist-in-residency program. This special project is in collaboration with the Nordic Arts Alliance, based in Moorhead. The field station is located at 2660 Fawn Lake Dr. NE in East Bethel.

Johnson, originally from Anoka, creates an outdoor environment in the Oak Savannah at Cedar Creek. She seeks to answer the question for Scandinvian Americans “are we still tribal 1000 years after the last Viking axe was thrown?” She creates beeswax castings of Swedish-American faces, from all around Minnesota, and joins the faces to found trees which become bog stav sculptures, an early traditional form found in bogs in Scandinavia. The beeswax becomes three-dimensional as the sun shines through the wax and the faces flicker.

Gisladottir joins Johnson at Cedar Creek and provides cultural content for the exhibtion as well as storytelling sessions and a special evening bonfire storytelling session. Gisladottir was a founding member of the Viking storytelling and musical group Krauka and she has been telling stories for everyone from children to queens. She has been featured in numerous Viking and cultural festivals throughout Europe. This is her first appearance in America.