Stone & Man – Qaqortoq, Greenland - Atlas Obscura

Stone & Man

One Greenland town turned itself into an open air sculpture gallery with the help of a series of traditional stone artworks. 


All throughout the Greenlandic town of Qaqortoq, carved into boulders and lichen-covered rock faces, are carvings of whales, faces, and other traditional designs. Together these stoneworks are a citywide work of art known as Stone & Man.

The project is the work of local Qaqortoq artist Aka Høegh, who endeavored to turn her home town into a permanent open air art gallery, and essentially, a work of art in and of itself. With the help over a dozen artists hailing from other Nordic countries like Norway, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, and of course Greenland itself, Høegh oversaw the creation of 24 separate carvings and sculptures. Some of the works took the shape of fully shaped sculptures made out of local boulders, while others looked more like recreations of ancient tribal markings of fish and whales.

More sculptures have been added to the collection over the years and now, Qaqortoq is home to around 40 sculptures and carvings spread around town. The majority of the Stone & Man works are clumped near the Qaqortoq Museum, which has an impressive collection of carved talismans in its collection for visitors who can’t get enough of Greenland’s traditional art.

Qaqortoq might not be a very big town (although it is the fourth most populous in Greenland), but Stone & Man brings both its culture and its history to the fore.  

Know Before You Go

This is the location of just one of the stone carvings. The rest are distributed throughout Qaqortoq, and local tours are available to guide you.

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