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Nymark (Svalbard)

Last modified: 2024-01-27 by christopher oehler
Keywords: svalbard | nymark | self-proclaimed state | hartley: alex |
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From a Reuter wire, 12 May 2006:

The Barents Sea island of Nymark wants to break away from the King of Norway and be a republic, according to Alex Hartley. The English artist is the self-proclaimed discoverer and ruler of Nymark, an uninhabited island the size of a football pitch.

Nymark emerged in recent years as a glacier warmed and retreated from the sea. []

Since then he has held architecture and flag design competitions for his new fiefdom.

The Norwegian Government is fighting back and dismisses the Englishman's claim, saying the 1920 treaty covers the entire archipelago area, including Nymark.

Ivan Sache, 14 May 2006

Mr. Hartley's visit to the rock - named in the Norwegian language - was as part of a multi-disciplinary group of scientists and artists on the Cape Farewell arctic voyage from 10 to 16 September 2004. Certainly, his account of the landing on the rock in his journal is more inclined towards "we" than "me", although he may well have been the first to set foot there.

Other artists on the same expedition exhibited in December 2005. Mr. Hartley has a new exhibition, just opened in San Francisco CA and running until 23 June. If one were to take a cynical approach, one might assume that this could be the reason for his current "claim", some twenty months after landing on the rock.

It is also interesting how many journalists around the world have reproduced the Reuter wire quoted by Ivan, word for word, under their own by-line.

His work is known for exploring the relationship between architecture and space, but this is the first I have heard of an interest in flags.

(1) Cape Farewell web site, <>, (14 May 2006)
(2) Victoria Miro Gallery web site, <>, (14 May 2006)
Colin Dobson, 14 May 2006

If he actually discovered the island, he would be able to claim it without the need to secede from Norway. However, if the island turned up within the Norwegian territorial waters, it would be Norwegian anyway. As he says he wants to secede from Norway, he actually acknowledges that the island was Norwegian to start with.

If there are no inhabitants on the island, why should it become a republic? Who would elect a president? Also, to have a people is one of the conditions you have to meet to be able to form a country according to international law.

I think Alex Hartley is mostly doing this as a way to promote his own artistic career. What's the flag like?
Elias Granqvist, 14 May 2006