Nordic art comes to museum

There’s no need to fret if you missed out on the chance to see this year’s Nordic art exhibition, shown as part of the Edinburgh Festival.

A striking image from late artist Kaare Espolin Johnson, who created art-works of people and seascapes despite being almost blind.
A striking image from late artist Kaare Espolin Johnson, who created art-works of people and seascapes despite being almost blind.

The works will soon be coming to the isles, giving art-lovers the chance to see the exhibits closer to the landscapes that inspired them.

The Nordic House will show in both the upper and lower foyer of the Shetland museum from 9th January until 14th February.

So, expect Arctic seascapes, Icelandic lava fields and Denmark’s oldest allotment gardens to feature heavily among the works of art.

Included in the exhibits will be reproductions of work by:

• Kaare Espolin Johnson (1907-1994) – who produced striking images of people and seascapes from his native Finnmark in northern Norway, despite being almost
• Johannes Sveinsson Kjarval (1885-1972) – an orphan and fisherman who became Iceland’s most prolific painter using a variety of styles to depict landscape and lava formation.
• Åland women – photographs from three collections showing women fishing, working as merchant seamen and sailing from the Finnish Åland islands to Helsinki in the 1920s.
• Vennelyst – photos of Copenhagen’s oldest allotment gardens where families traditionally moved to live for the summer – comparing life at the turn of two centuries, 1900 and 2000.
• Kiruna – photos and a film of the Arctic Swedish mining town, which is being moved four kilometres, building by building, to avoid a massive crack in the earth caused
by subsidence.

Opening the exhibition during a private event on 8th January will be pro-independence Highlands and Islands MSP, Jean Urquhart. Nordic House director, fellow nationalist and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch, is due to explain the background to the selection.

She said: “We decided to use our modest budget to reproduce material rather than ship originals to Scotland, but hope this exhibition – one of the first multi-media exhibitions from all the Nordic nations – will help to stimulate curiosity, invite comparisons with Scotland and re-establish a ‘north east passage’ of art, ideas and stories between Scotland, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.”


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