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Co-operation between Hurtigruten and The Queen Sonja Print Award

Speech given by Her Majesty The Queen at a cultural reception on board Hurtigruten MS Fram i New York 15 April 2018.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A warm welcome to you all here onboard the MS FRAM – and welcome to this cultural reception!

According to ancient Norwegian history, the Norwegian Viking Leiv Eiriksson discovered America around year 1000.

The Viking ships were decorated with the most beautiful wooden carvings: Dragon heads and flowers, ornaments and animals adorned Leiv Eiriksson’s ship – as he fought his way through the waves towards Newfoundland, where he first set foot.

Today, a 1000 years later – we continue the tradition – and decorate a proud ship – sailing on our oceans on a much more peaceful mission than back in the early Viking age! 

The unique partnership we are gathered here today to celebrate, is the co-operation between Hurtigruten and The Queen Sonja Print Award. Hurtigruten strives to provide their guests with an unforgettable experience. Exquisite art to enjoy on the journey is part of this experience.

Hurtigruten and QSPA have joined forces – to create a ship of graphic art! More than 600 works by young printmakers will adorn the ship MS Roald Amundsen – named after the Norwegian explorer. The ship will be launched next year. As you can see we exhibit a selection of our young artists here today. And one of them, Julie Ebbing, is here with us now.

In printmaking, one of the most common techniques is woodcut. Plainly speaking: With a 1000 years’ time span, the woodcarvings of the Vikings and today’s graphic art are indeed related.

Leif Eirikson’s ship took the explorer to America.

Hurtigruten MS Roald Amundsen will bring exploring travelers to exotic areas between our poles – from north to south.

Somewhere along this historic line, we find why I think this newly formed partnership is so important: We believe graphic art is a great art form. It is democratic and accessible. Printmaking truly deserves a prestigious prize and acknowledgement to enhance its position.

Since we first established the prize in 2011, three outstanding artists have received the Queen Sonja Print Award. The last one – who received the prize in 2016, was the New York-based artist Tauba Auerbach. Unfortunately, she was unable to be with us today.

To further support and stimulate graphic art and young printmakers in America, we are today expanding – by launching QSPA Americas Foundation.

The primary mission of the QSPA Americas will be to create interest in and inspire the development of graphic art. Mr Trond S. Jensen is the first president of the Foundation. The Director of the legendary Universal Limited Art Editions, Mr Bill Goldston, is the first Chariman of the board. Thanks to their invaluable support, we hope to see promising results of the Foundation’s work in the years to come.

Before I close, I would like to bring to your attention an aspect that enriches today’s event for me personally: The island of Svalbard; as you have seen.

This Norwegian arctic island is very close to my heart. The landscapes, the snow, the light, the silence!

I can never get enough of it.

And: That is where it all started for QSPA.

Observing the beautiful patterns in a dark meltwater tunnel in Svalbard in 2006 – through the photographic lens – was the starting point of my fascination with printmaking. And this work laid part of the financial foundation for the establishment of the QSPA.

So here is the story:

Year 1000: Leiv Eiriksson discovered America from his Viking ship decorated with woodcarvings.

2018: We are gathered here in New York to celebrate the partnership between a very special ship and the art of printmaking.

2019: Hurtigruten MS Roald Amundsen – The Ship of Graphic Art – will sail to where it all started: Svalbard and its oceans.

The circle is closed.

By being here, you are all part of this fascinating journey! 

Again – my warmest welcome to all of you!

I hope you will enjoy yourselves, enjoy this small exhibition – and join in the celebration of a fruitful partnership!




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