Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Farewell and homecoming

A wave. A roll of the sea that emerges and evaporates like flashes of memories. Waving. A gesture of the hand to say farewell or welcome home. The two interpretations of waving, as a noun and as a verb, are intimately connected. People who sail the sea to fish, hunt whales, and emigrate are waved goodbye and welcomed back home. Voyages may be short or long. Sailors may return home or never turn back. Fisherman and their wives may wave at departure and homecoming. Whalers and their families do so when they embark on sea journeys of up to six months. The waving of emigrants when they turn their back to Scotland in search for fortune in the New World may be much more laden.

Jini Rawlings' exhibition WAVE/ING in Aberdeen Maritime Museum explores the connections of wave as a noun and as a verb. Inspired by journals of Aberdeen trawler skipper Alfred Craig of the 1940s and the journals of Elizabeth Jane Oswald of the 19th century, Rawling sailed to Iceland to film some of the places referred to in these writings and formulate her own response. She captured her experiences in three poetic video installations.

In response to this exhibition I will facilitate a workshop in which we explore traditional Scottish songs of farewell and homecoming of people who travel the seas to fish, hunt whales and emigrate. This drop-in singing workshop for families with children aged 8 and over, will take place in Aberdeen Maritime Museum on Wednesday 18 July from 2 to 4 pm. For more information, contact Aberdeen Maritime Museum at 01224 337700.

Copyright text and image Petra Vergunst

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