It’s here: Sarpsborg’s Millennium Year! 100 paintings help celebrate its history

Photo: Viggo Faukland Helge Berg Skånlund presents his painting illustrating the discovery of the Sarpsborg waterfalls by King Olav. His trademark, two people walking side-by-side, can be found on the rocks to the right of the skip.

Photo: Viggo Faukland
Helge Berg Skånlund presents his painting illustrating the discovery of the Sarpsborg waterfalls by King Olav. His trademark, two people walking side-by-side, can be found on the rocks to the right of the skip.

Leslee Lane Hoyum
Rockford, Minn.

It’s nearly impossible to imagine that 2016 has arrived and, along with it, Sarpsborg’s millennium. One thousand years ago the city was founded as Borg by Viking King Olav Haraldsson, also known as St. Olav. I hope that through the years you’ve become better acquainted with my family’s beloved “hometown” through Bestefars hjørne.

All year long the city of Sarpsborg is hosting events to celebrate its founding. The grand weekend, July 29 to 31, coincides with Olsok, the traditional commemoration of St. Olav’s death in 1030. You won’t want to miss that weekend, which will include Viking-themed offerings from historical re-enactments to great food to lively music and illuminating exhibitions.

A must-see is the art exhibit 100 malerier, 1000 år (100 paintings, 1000 years). Organized by Elisabeth Gyllensten and Geir Stahl, owners of Atelie Gyllensten & Stahl in Fredrikstad’s Gamlebyen, the exhibit will feature more than 100 paintings presenting artists’ interpretations of Sarpsborg’s history. “We began thinking about our project nearly four years ago,” said Gyllensten. “The premise was to pull together local artists and our art students to create a presentation illustrating Sarpsborg’s thousand-year history.”

One participating artist is Helge Skånlund, a dear friend of my husband and me. “I have been thinking about Sarpsborg’s millennium for many years,” said Skånlund, “and knew exactly what I would paint.” His major contribution is a painting of King Olav discovering the waterfalls at Borg. As with all Skånlund paintings, you will notice his trademark: two very small people walking side-by-side. “It reminds us how small we are in the scheme of things,” says Skånlund.

A bonus of the exhibition is an accompanying book: Historiske foretellinger i pensel og penn (Historical Tales in Brush and Pen). Atelier Gyllensten & Stahl and Sarpsborg’s Skribentene (a local writer’s association) have combined photos of the paintings with stories and poems. Individuals interested in the book may contact elisabeth.gyllensten@online.no.

The exhibit begins April 2 at Soli Brug Galleri and is open daily from noon to 7:00 p.m. through April 17. It will move to Hafslund Manor Home for the last week of July.

We welcome you to Sarpsborg in 2016, especially to the grand weekend. For more info, go to www.sarpsborg2016.no. For travel inquiries, contact Brekke Tours & Travel at (701) 772-8999 or (800) 437-5302.

This article is a part of Bestefars hjørne, a feature column by Leslee Lane Hoyum.

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 22, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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