“Eventyrlige Espolin” – Linda Lillevik
Storvågan • Lofoten
The boys at the schoolyard in Bodø did not know that they were teasing a great artist. They had no idea that the boy standing in front of them would be famous. That his artwork would be exhibited in many countries around the world. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Yugoslavia and the United States. That he would be famous, long before Norwegians knew what fame meant. They had no idea his art would adorn town halls, schools and hospitals. His art would even decorate a police station. He would be selected to make art for two to Hurtigruten coastal steamers that transported passengers and goods along the coast between Kirkenes and Bergen. The ships Ragnvald Jarl and Harald Jarl. Stately ships with stately names. Thousands of people would encounter his work on board the ships. The president of the United States? Would he be given a painting? Yes, he most likely will. As a gift from the Norwegian people delivered by Norway’s Prime Minister. The boys in the schoolyard had no idea. They only saw a twelve year old who had a different way of speaking. His accent makes his dialect a little different than their own. He was from Finnmark. That in itself would be enough to tease him for. He wore glasses. Thick glasses. The boy had poor eyesight. Yet, it was his eyesight that would carry him beyond the others. His artwork would one day hang on the walls of the National Art Museum in Oslo, Norway’s capital city.