The following four individual stamps and series have been released from the post office of the Faroe Islands. For more information about the stories behind the stamp designs, and to purchase these new issues, visit the Faroe Post website.
The present stamp series features artwork by three artists, each - in her own way with her own technique and material - creating significant artwork, attached to Faroese nature and Faroese material.
We are so used to presentations of nature and of villages in Faroese art. But in these works, nature herself is the material, and the viewer experiences the works, smelling flowers, wool and seaweed. The soft and the slippery, the strong and sharp, the scarlet and the bottle green.
Weaving, knitting, sewing and embroidering are artforms dating thousands of years back, most often underestimated and overlooked. But perhaps we are seeing change in that respect. Last autumn there was an exhibition in Klaksvík with woven art, and all our three women artists were represented. In our time it is trendy that you should use local materials, you should recycle and protect nature – also in art. Jórunn, Astrid and Tita all represent such a trend.
Europa 2022: Myths & Legends
In many island cultures we find legends of so-called floating islands - islands that have mysteriously drifted in from the sea, disappeared again, or run aground and conjoined with other islands, often as a result of witchcraft or similar phantasmic happenings.
The Faroe Islands are no exception in this regard. Most of our smallest islands have some form of floating island legends. In his work from 1673 ”FAROÆ ET FÆROA RESERATA” the priest Lucas Debes describes this phenomenon and attributes it to icebergs drifting past the islands, or a Satanic veiling of the superstitious population. A century later, in 1781-82, Jens Christian Svabo, a man of the Enlightenment, rejected Debes’ theories and attributes the phenomenon to rocklike clouds drifting on the horizon or even ”pollamjørki”, the Faroese term for heavy drifting sea-mist.
And there is little doubt that Svabo’s assumption was correct. Anyone who has seen dense sea fogs drift over and alongside these tiny islands, cannot help feeling that the island itself had begun floating over the sea and through the fog. But reality is usually less interesting than a good story, so let us stick to the legendary world’s colourful explanation of nature’s visual illusions - and look at a few examples of islands that have come floating with their mountains and valleys – and even with pigs and giants following in their wake.
The first Faroese book
The first book in the Faroese language was printed in 1822 when H.C. Lyngbye published "Faroese Heroic Ballads of Sigurd, the Slayer of the Dragon Fafnir and His Kindred". The text was a transcript of a ballad derived from the extensive Faroese oral tradition, where songs are performed by a lead singer in a closed chain of dancers chanting along to the chorus. This Faroese chain dance is a combination of narratives, melodies and bodily expressions, where the lead singer through dramatic interaction with the dancers chants the main lyrics.
The early 1800s saw a growing antiquarian interest among the scholarly elite in the traditions of the common people. Songs and folktales were written down, edited, published and often became the basis for stringent academic studies that were far removed from the colourful folk traditions. Nevertheless, these texts later became crucial to Faroese identity and the main reason for the ancient Faroese chain dance tradition being alive today.
Sepac 2022: Local beverages
The theme of this year’s SEPAC stamp issue is ”Local Beverages” - and in the Faroe Islands there is no mistaking the fact that the leading company in the field is the old brewery Föroya Bjór.
Föroya Bjór has for almost a century and a half supplied the Faroese with beverages, be it beer or soft drinks of various kinds, - and in recent years, more hard hitting drinks.
1888 – Símun í Vági
In 1883, 20-year-old Simon Frederik Hansen, ”Símun í Vági” in colloquial speech, travelled to Denmark to learn to be a baker. In addition to learning professional baking, Símun also learned how to brew beer during his stay in Denmark. Back in the Faroe Islands in 1888, Símun í Vági started his own bakery - and already that same year he started making beer in the basement of his home in Vági, now Klaksvík. Nothing in his story indicates exactly what kind of beer he brewed was or how it tasted, but it undoubtedly tasted great and the strength must have been reasonable because this is how ”Föroya Bjór” started, a brewery which over time developed into the Faroe Islands’ largest brewery and a leader in the field.
Símun in Vági was an enterprising and creative person. In addition to being a baker and brewer, he was also a farmer and a shipowner. He also designed Föroya Bjór’s iconic logo, the Faroese Ram, which is featured on the stamp issue