Ship of Fools, Bridge Street, Kirkwall: Thurs 5-Sun 15, 1100-1700, closed Sun 8

Three exhibitions are woven together in the gallery near the harbour front. Mother of the Sea was inspired by the work of Dr Kathleen Drew Baker (1901-1957), revered in Japan for her work on the life cycle of the seaweed known in Wales as laver (Japanese nori). It will include a varied mix of artists who work with seaweed in printmaking, photography, painting, textiles and sculpture and is spread between here and the Northlight Gallery in Stromness.

It will also include showings of three films. Seaweed by Julia Parks weaves together voices of seaweed harvesters and alginate workers today with archive footage and folklore amidst scenes from northern beaches and the ever-present background of the sea. Umi No Oya by Maya Minder and Ewen Chardronnet highlights the importance of Kathleen Drew-Baker’s research for the nori industry in Japan and shows some of the effects of climate change on seaweed farming. The third film, Homo Photosyntheticus: Interview with Yamamoto Takihiro, features the 7th generation head of the Yamamoto Noriten Company, founded in 1849.

The seaweed theme will also be to the fore in Seaweed on Sunday at Skaill House on Sunday 8 September.

A Fragile Correspondence was commissioned by Scotland + Venice to bring writers, artists and architects together to look at language and landscape. It journeys from the forests around Loch Ness to Orkney’s seashore and the vanished Orkney Norn language, to the industrialised remnants of the Ravenscraig steelworks.

Earthbound Orkney features techniques of building in earth and stone in the Orcadian Neolithic, which will also be described in a talk on Thursday 5.

A collaboration between the Orkney Japan Association, EBUKI, and Scotland + Venice


  • “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.

  • 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.

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