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Tarira Statue

The Tarira Statue in Tórshavn’s Viðarlundin Park celebrates the Faroe Islands’ most loved author, William Heinesen.

0075 Tarira Statue
Viðarlundin Park
Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
GPS: 62.014334, -6.778321

The unveiling of the Tarira Statue.

The year 2000 was the 100th birthday of William Heinesen, artist, violinist, but best-known as the Faroe Island’s most-loved author. That entire year seemed to be one long commemorative celebration in his honor.

William Heinesen was born right here in Tórshavn, in the building that is now the Katrina Christiansen Restaurant.

On 14 January 2000, the day before his birthday, the events began with the release of three books filled with William Heinesen’s previously unpublished texts.

Then, on his birthday, 15 January, the statue of Tarira, created by Hans Pauli Olsen, was unveiled

The statue “Tarira”, is also called the Elf Girl, and is prominently displayed at the top of a small hill in Viðarlundin Park, in the center of Tórshavn.

At the age of 70, William Heinesen began creating colorful collages from cut paper. 

The image of Tarira was born in a cut-paper collage that William Heinesen created when he was 79 years old.

Fiddler and Tarira - William Heinesen - 1979
Fiddler and Tarira – William Heinesen – 1979

Through the layers of paper, cut to resemble a violinist playing feverishly, while caught in a cage of brambles.

The violinists audience, a lively young woman, seems to be bursting from the Earth, almost floating.

Tarira Statue - Viðarlundin Park Tórshavn - Landscape
Tarira Statue – Viðarlundin Park Tórshavn – Landscape

This woman, Tarira, is desire and enchantment. She is the representation of youth, life, and joy itself.

Tarira Childs Book Character
Tarira Childs Book Character

To solidify the metaphor that Tarira is the essence of youth and life, William Heinesen created another, lesser-known piece of art titled ‘Life’, in which Tarira is depicted, in her favorite pose, surrounded by an abstract swirl that includes human embryos and young children playing.

Tarira in William William Heinesen's artwork - Life
Tarira in William William Heinesen’s artwork – Life

By the time Heinesen put his scissors down at the age of 85, Tarira had appeared in many pieces of his art.

The statue of Tarira is cast in bronze and created by the well-known Faroese sculptor, Hans Pauli Olsen.  Olsen has many more bronze sculptures throughout the park.

Tarira Statue - Viðarlundin Park Tórshavn - Artist Plate
Tarira Statue – Viðarlundin Park Tórshavn – Artist Plate

The stone on which Tarira so delicately stands, is quite symbolic. 

The hollowed-out front of the rock presents a silhouette of the author, William Heinesen.

Tarira Statue - Viðarlundin Park Tórshavn - William Heinesen Profile
Tarira Statue – Viðarlundin Park Tórshavn – William Heinesen Profile

Tarira is dancing her way out of the mind of William Heinesen. This is because she is the representation of Heinesen’s imagination and creativity. She is his muse.

If you walk around the back of the statue, you will see the familiar figure of the man with a violin. 

Tarira Statue - Viðarlundin Park Tórshavn - Fiddler
Tarira Statue – Viðarlundin Park Tórshavn – Fiddler

The aside from being yet another symbolic reference to the author (Heinesen also played the violin) the silhuoette could also reference one of Heinesens famous works “Glataðu Spælimenninir” (The Doomed Fiddler) (1950).

Glataðu Spælimenninir stamp collection
Glataðu Spælimenninir stamp collection


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