Stories of Our Time is an Exhibition currently on show at Tankerness House Musuem Kirkwall. We went along on Saturday at the invitation of the Artist Robinson RR (Ralph).
The invitational event was extremely well attended and there was an excitement in the air; an expectation of what was to come after RR’s exhibition the previous year.
The exhibition itself tells four well known stories which are all linked with current events; with the focus being mainly on the plight of Refugees trying to get to what is perceived as a better life.
The pieces are compiled from linocuts, woodblock prints, wood and ceramic assemblages and sculpture.
The first three pieces of the exhibit are Linocuts titled Europe’s Good Samaritan (or Europe’s Holy Fool), Odysseus and Robinson Crusoe respectively, and are each striking in their stark imagery, the first of which features Angela Merkal shown to be surrounded by desperate refugees and their boats.
Heading clockwise around the room you come to a series of works titled Allegories of Migration where by contrast to the previous three pieces you are struck by their colour; these are all vibrant pieces highlighting the multitude of countries involved in migration with the rich coming together, of people and their cultures full of the promise of a better life. These pieces are made from a mixture of china found on beaches, driftwood and bright primary colours.
The next three pieces titled Sermons 1-111 for me showed the difficulty of interpreting religion, the conrast between what scriptures teach and what we see happening before our eyes; with the upside down texts depicting how meaningless words can be if not put together with compassion and charity. There is no point teaching people to help others if we substequently shut the door in their face.
The final piece of work, a sculpture, quite literally took my breath away; it depicts the Syrian Exodus with the piece nakedly showing the harsh reality of putting your life in the hands of others when embarking upon the oceans in what for most are boats not fit for purpose. The sculptures colours once again show hope with each strand portraying an actual person onboard.
This exhibition certainly made me think, especially currently when people are still arriving on the shores of Europe, but of whom we now so seldom hear. It is an exhibition well worth the visit.
Afterward we caught up with the Artist himself.
Reporter Helen Armet, Photos by Kenny Armet