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77°North Exhibition at Northlight

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by Liza Green

Our exhibition 77°North opened at the Discovery Centre, Dundee in October 2019 after a period of planning, discussions and meetings between the Edge committee and representatives from Dundee Museums.

The exhibition followed two previous successful and well received exhibitions by Edge at Dundee Museums (including, in 2000, our inaugural show at McManus Gallery).

The Scottish Whaling industry was economically important not only to Dundee, one of the UK’s major ports during the 18th and 19th centuries, but also to the whole country.

It’s not a subject which immediately springs to mind when one thinks of fine art textiles and embroidery but Edge members like a challenge.

We were invited to hold drawing and research days and given access to the archives at Dundee’s McManus Gallery and Museum, and the subject proved fascinating despite its bloody history.

Much of the work on show here was in the original Dundee exhibition. Several pieces were sold in Dundee and, as a result, new work was made for 77°North at Harbour Cottage Gallery, Kirkcudbright, Dumfries & Galloway in 2022; a few more new pieces appear here for the first time.

Our long term plan had been for this to be a travelling exhibition, and our ambition was to show the work in towns or ports with connections to the whaling industry.

Stromness was one of the key staging posts, ships called to collect additional crew members, water and supplies prior to the hazardous and frequently dangerous journey across the North Atlantic to the whaling grounds.

Being familiar with Northlight I contacted the gallery on behalf of the committee with a view to showing our work here in 2020 or 2021.

No one could have predicted the pandemic, and like everyone else our plans were put on hold. It is with great pleasure that we are finally able to bring this exhibition to Stromness.

Lliza Green is an Edge committee member & exhibition coordinator August 2023.

The title of the exhibition derives from research of the C19 whaling industry – ships might travel as far as 77°North, to the north of Baffin Bay, the far northwest coast of Greenland, a cold and hostile environment for men and ships alike. 

The exhibition runs at The Northlight Gallery Stromness from Saturday 26th August to Wednesday 6th September 2023. Open every day except Sunday, 11am to 5pm.

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