The appeal


There are places on earth that bear witness to untold stories. Where the formation of a landscape reveals something lost. A history that has been suppressed. We see cliffs eroded by the winds. Earth assaulted by the sea. Tectonic plates teared apart. But we are not merely spectators of a geological landscape in this place. Nature is more than background here. Through the eyes of the photographer Díana Júliusdóttir, we see something else: a landscape that returns the gaze.

We see a divided ground. A rupture. But this is not any ground. We understand that something has been broken. We are witnessing something that cannot really be told. Cannot be shown. Something that cannot be signified. Like the word 'silence' that erases itself when spoken. The silence of those who were not allowed to grieve. 

In the midst of this erasure we see a woman. What is her name? How old is she? Where is she going? She returns the gaze and we realize that she could be of any age. She belongs here. She is not going anywhere. She has always been here. Or has she? She could be nature herself pleading with us. She could be a creature of the sea. A spirit of the mountain. A personification of the elements. But something in the way she presents her hands and feet reveals that she is very human. Concerned with human affairs. There is almost something accusatory in the way she carries herself. One begins to understand that she entered this place on a specific date. There is a reason for her presence here. When she returns your gaze, you realize she could be your relative. She cares for you. She is here because she was related to someone. A relationship was broken. She watches the sea and she watches you. And you understand that this is an appeal. You must travel to that place and gather the evidence. Seek the story that has been lost. Look for that rupture in the ground. Find what was left out in the books of history. 


In the west of Iceland by a cliff crevice called Kista in the fjord Trékyllisvík, three men gathered wood for their own execution. They were burned in the year of 1654. They lived a life without the means to make an appeal.