The Icelandic Communities Association is pleased to announce that Wayne Gudmundson will be the keynote speaker on the 2nd of August Celebration Heritage Program at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 31, 2021, in the Mountain Community Center. He is a professor emeritus from Minnesota State University Moorhead where he taught photography for 25 years. One of his many works, the “Life in the Vast Lane” print, has local ties, featuring the hill west of Mountain. His work has appeared in 10 books, several public television documentaries, and numerous exhibitions in the United States, Canada, and Iceland. He is the grandson of the Honorary Parade Marshals, Chris & Stina Gudmundson.
Gudmundson’s 11th book, A SONG FOR LIV, was released by the North Dakota State University Press in this month. During the program, he will share excerpts from the book along with photos from his search for his family roots. The book traces the Icelandic emigration from Iceland to Gimli to Mountain as told through pairings of Gudmundson’s photographs with his writing about the personal accounts of his family. Initially, it was more of a search about K.N. Julius (an Icelandic immigrant and Mountain local known for his poetry). The search took a turn and became a quest to track Gudmundson’s family back 28 generations to Grimur Kamban, the first settler of the Faroe Islands in 825. Thus began a project that spanned 15 years.
Wayne tells us: “The title comes from a book, Songlines, by Bruce Chatwin – about the travels of the aboriginal people of Australia who kept track of their nomadic journeys by composing songs recording their travels. Built into this audio map were the family and community events that occurred en route – children born, pleasures, injuries, and death. They felt that if their songs were not sung the land would die. Therefore, it is incumbent on all of us to sing our songs. This book is for our descendants and is a poetic song of their ancestors. And on some level, it is also a love letter to my daughter, Liv.”
Gudmundson’s photographic work is in many permanent collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, the Reykjavik Center for Photography, and the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson. He is represented by the Joseph Bellows Gallery in La Jolla, California. He and his wife, Jane, are now retired and split their time between Bad Medicine Lake in Minnesota and Tucson, Arizona.
The 122nd Annual 2nd of August Icelandic Celebration (‘the Deuce’) is the longest running ethnic celebration in North Dakota. The weekend event includes a Friday night fish fry offered by the Bjornson-Sigfusson American Legion Post and Auxiliary of Mountain, free stage with local talent on Friday night (see August the Deuce Facebook page for guidelines), 10:30 a.m. Saturday parade (broadcast live on KXPO), Vikur Salad Luncheon at 11 a.m, children’s Icelandic/English story time at Amma’s Garden 12:30 p.m., kid’s pedal pull and kid’s games in the afternoon, 2 p.m. Heritage Program, and a street dance Saturday night featuring the Fargo band, The Front Fenders. The North Dakota State Tractor Pull is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday.