Feline “artist” has own exhibition

19.07.2021 - 16:14
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Stefanía Hilmarsdóttir - https://www.facebook.com/Birta-l
Birta the cat, from Höfn í Hornafirði, has a hobby. She collects litter and other unattended items around the town and brings them home. Now, with a little help from her owner, she has become (probably) the first cat in Iceland to open an exhibition, currently welcoming visitors at the Höfn cultural centre.

Over the course of 16 months, Birta has brought home items that filled many large refuse sacks—but despite the choice of container, her owner, Stefanía Hilmarsdóttir, did not throw any of her loot away. Instead, she collected it all together and pitched the idea of an exhibition to the local cultural centre.   

The director of the Höfn cultural centre, Eyrún Helga Ævarsdóttir, says she did not know how to react at first. “It needed a bit of consideration,” she explained in a RÚV radio interview. There were various things to consider: “There were questions of how we should set up an exhibition of rubbish that has been picked up in nature or on building sites.”  

As the picture shows, Birta’s taste in artefacts is wide, but she and her two human collaborators eventually settled on a way to show off the treasures, alongside pictures of Birta herself.

Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Margrét Blöndal - RÚV

“The exhibition brings up feelings of joy and surprise, and all sorts of feelings really,” Eyrún says. “It is such a fun subject matter and I also admire Stefanía for thinking to collect all of it together and not just let it peter out.” 

Like many modern cats, Birta wears a GPS tracker on her collar, which shows that she walks an average of nine kilometres per day, patrolling for interesting artefacts, and doing her part to clean up the town in the process.  

Birta, of course, has a presence on Facebook, where one can see that not all of her finds are unwanted detritus. Stefanía goes out of her way to return items that may still be needed, hownever; like the expensive new England football shirt seen in one of the pictures, which luckily was labelled and returned quickly to its owner.

Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Margrét Blöndal - RÚV
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Alexander Elliott
Fréttastofa RÚV