Mother’s love in the Mother’s Garden 

In Lækjargata, in the middle of downtown Reykjavík, is the work of art Móðurást by Nína Sæmundsson (1892-1965). A work that Nína did in 1924, and was exhibited the same year in Paris, where she was working at the time. A cast of the work was bought to Iceland in 1926, and placed in Mæðragarðurinn (the mother’s garden) in 1930, a small garden, north of Miðbæjarskólinn / now Kvennaskólinn, a garden made especially for mothers and their children. Móðurást is the first work installed in Iceland that is not a monument or a replica of a specific person, as well as the first sculpture by a woman to be placed in a public space. Nína, the youngest of 15 siblings, was born south and east in Fljótshlíð, and studied sculpture at the Royal Danish Academy of Arts, 1916-1920. She then worked for several years in Paris, before moving to New York in 1926 and then west to Los Angeles in 1930, where she worked with a good reputation as a sculptor and visual artist for the rest of her life.


Mæðragarðurinn around 1940 (Photo C Nielsen 1940)

Mæðragarðurinn today; a lot has changed, Hotel Reykjavík Saga, a new hotel on Lækjargata on the left. Nina’s Móðurást can be seen against the voltage station building that was built in 1940

Nína’s  Sæmundsson Móðurást, was placed in Mæðragarðurinn 92 years ago

Reykjavík 18/10/2022 : RX1R II, A7R IV – FE 2.8/100mm GM, 2.0/35mm Z

Photographs & text : Páll Stefánsson