Exhibitions 2024

This year’s exhibition themes range from earth to sky. Stromness Museum’s summer exhibition features two Orkney geologists, and St Magnus Cathedral will host for the Festival period a very special astronomical patchwork quilt, created for the bicentenary of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Just across the street, the theme is comets. In the Town Hall Supper Room you can find out about their origins and place in history and see – and hear – an audiovisual installation created by an Orcadian artist in residence at the RAS. It displays the story of discoveries of comments by the 19th-century astronomer Caroline Herschel, with star plates and readings of her words and specially composed music.

The great Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, born 150 years ago, is commemorated in an exhibition of paintings by an Italian artist. The Pier Arts Centre in Stromness features paintings of Orkney by one of Scotland’s leading artists, who saw the islands at the two solstice poles of the year, with the skies aglow in winter and long summer twilights.

Shore life and seaweed appear in various ways, and in various places. There’s the Camera Club exhibition in the Orkney Library, and an array of artists at the Northlight Gallery in Stromness. The Ship of Fools in Kirkwall houses three exhibitions, one of which is built around a historic seaweed link between Scotland and Japan. Alongside it is an exploration of links between landscape and language, and a look at techniques of building in earth and stone in Neolithic Orkney.

The Ness of Brodgar excavations are the theme of the Orkney Museum’s summer exhibition in Tankerness House – its biggest yet – and Orkney’s more recent past can be seen at the Wireless Museum at Kiln Corner, with radio through two world wars, and before and after as well.


  • Paintings by the Italian artist Paola Folicaldi Suh of the Shackleton Antarctic expedition of 1914-17, in this 150th anniversary year of the birth of Sir Ernest Shackleton. The paintings, developed from the photographs and diaries of expedition photographer Frank Hurley, are on canvases made with upholstery fabrics.

  • More images inspired by the influence of Dr Kathleen Drew Baker on the Japanese seaweed industry. It will include over a dozen artists who work with seaweed in printmaking, photography, painting, textiles and sculpture. Among them are Alison Clark, Alison Moore, Ingrid Budge, Megumi Barrington Uenoyama, Yvonne Harcus, Julia Lohmann, Mollie Goldstrom & William Arnold, Rebecca Marr, Ami Robb and Ingrid Stout.

  • Three exhibitions are woven together in the gallery near the harbour front. Mother of the Sea is linked to the Northlight Gallery exhibition. A Fragile Correspondence was commissioned by Scotland + Venice to bring writers, artists and architects together to look at language and landscape, including Orkney’s seashore and the vanished Orkney Norn language. Earthbound Orkney features techniques of building in earth and stone in the Orcadian Neolithic.

  • “The shore dweller has companionship with the free world of nature,” wrote the Orkney poet and shell expert Robert Rendall. “There is always life and movement, birds flying about, waves breaking, salt winds blowing, an occasional seal in the bay, seapinks and other flowers giving colour to the foreshore.” The Orkney shore, its beaches and rock pools, and the life around it, forms the theme for this year’s Orkney Camera Club exhibition.

  • A new introductory display created by Callum Potter, former president of the British Astronomical Society. Great Comets which are easily visible to the casual viewer are rare, but there are now thousands known to reside around our solar system. The display depicts comets in history from Halley to Neowise, along with the science behind comets, space missions to comets, and photographs of comets in the 20th and 21st century.

Workshops & Activities 2024
Talks 2024
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