Located on the edge of the world facing the rough Arctic ocean, Kvitbrakka is a quiet bay for a restless mind. Every day waking up and falling asleep to a vibration of the wind knocking on the walls - you feel yourself even more calm and safe inside a warm wooden house. Snow white desert with mountain curves cutting the horizon up and down, force your eyes to follow the line obediently, painting with layers of white on white colour palette. If you have been longing for a cradle of your agitated senses, it's here.
The wind will knock you down, your face will be beaten by rain with pieces of ice and sand, but even your liver will smile broadly
The people of Berlevåg are completely opposite to the nature of the north. Warm and kind, they come to you to give and share, even if you have met just a few days ago. The artist house is also a coffee shop, flea market, concert hall and painting studio for the community - the space allows it all seamlessly. At some point you stop closing the door letting the flow of people in and out like the waves reaching the coastline and going back offshore.
The beauty of small communities of remote places is that every idea, every initiative can be fulfilled, you will get surprised how many unreal things are easier to accomplish in small towns than in vibrant megalopolises. You want to gather the choir from locals to sing together? Expect a municipal councillor with his mum to come along and join the fest - as it happened with the Russian artist Daria Buyun. The scale of social life is different - in the town where everyone knows everyone everything is visible for the better or for worse. Such a dimension allows you to make an impact and see the direct effect with your own eyes.
Travelling to the art residency in the northernmost part of Norway can be challenging so it is smart to go as light as possible following the concept of recycle and reuse in creative process. The big colourful fish standing just outside the residency house that seems to be hanging in the pure air when snow covers up its stand is an example of art made from the trash given back by the ocean. Working with materials that is given you by the place rather than bringing with you giant suitcases of art supply can prove itself a satisfying and ecological approach to creativity.
Example that has endlessly inspired me is the artist who asked the locals to bring over their working garments to be repaired by her with addition of a small artistic touch of handmade embroidery specifically designed for each individual. Her final exhibition brought together more people than is officially registered in town, becoming a major event of the year.
Berlevåg is all about the magic of simple daily life that you get to notice and appreciate. It teaches you to stay humble and live a big noticeable life.
Deadline for next year AIR is due to 15th August