Two new artworks join the Collections at the Scottish Fisheries Museum
Thanks to funding from the National Fund for Acquisitions, the Scottish Fisheries Museum has been able to acquire two contemporary artworks created by textile artist Caroline Hack. The artworks were commissioned by the museum as the centrepiece of a temporary installation within our Whaling Gallery for the Year of Stories 2022.
“Success to the Rising Sun” is linked to the history of the Gallery itself which is housed in a building that was constructed by the Anstruther Whale Fishing Company in 1757 as a storehouse. The “Rising Sun” was one of two ships owned by the Company and which, although little known today, took part in whaling in this early part of the industry within Scotland. As such, it illustrates a pivotal period in the development of international fishing, shipping technology, harbour development along the Firth of Forth, and the local economy and society. It was the subject of a research project documented online here: https://www.scotfishmuseum.org/the-anstruther-whale-fishery-company.php.
The second piece, “Baffin Bay”, takes its inspiration directly from items in the museum collections including 19th-century harpoons, illustrations and logbooks – text from one of the logbooks has been included within the design.
Together, the pieces bring these two periods of Scottish whaling into one coherent story and centre the role of Anstruther and the east coast within the narrative. They are now on show in the re-developed Whaling Gallery to permanently enhance the displays and to inspire other artistic interpretations of the subject matter. Whaling is a contentious issue and inspires much debate. The new displays discuss these and raise topics such as environmental sustainability, exploitation of natural resources, and the sheer majesty of whales in their natural habitat, while also exploring the lives of the whalers and the impact of whale products on the industrial revolution. The legacies of whaling include art and literature, as well as exploration and scientific enquiry.
Therefore the museum is particularly grateful to the National Fund for Acquisitions for supporting this unique opportunity for the museum to acquire two contemporary works from acclaimed artist Caroline Hack that have direct connections to the museum site and collections.
Hazel Williamson, National Fund for Acquisitions Manager, said: “We are delighted to support the acquisition of these two artworks by Caroline Hack which directly relate to the Scottish Fisheries Museum and its collections. They vividly capture and interpret aspects of the Scottish whaling industry, enhancing the museum’s displays and helping to engage audiences with this important and contentious history.”
Both pieces highlight and interpret the museum collections related to whaling and help to tell further stories hidden within them. They are on show as part of the Whaling Displays during museum opening hours.