This aerial photograph of Skara Brae the neolithic village shows a cluster of dwellings rounded like a sea worn shell shows its inner structures. Sea foams at the edge of the village and a dark shore line barely separates the buildings from the sea.


‘White’ is the latest mini exhibition at Orkney Library and Archive.

To match the winter season we have selected Gunnie Moberg photographs with a white element. Susanna of Skumpitoft lifts back the white net curtains of her home in Sanday, Faroe to greet Gunnie. The foaming white sea at Skail creates a veil of white lace beside a frosted Skara Brae. In Shetland, possibly the west side of the parish of Northmavine, a white boulder creates the base for a sea marker, a land based sign for those at sea. The white head of a grey seal pup is sea-smoothed in a dark pool, while the white hair of the filmmaker and poet Margaret Tait is wind-blown against a blue-black background.

The head of a young seal breaks the water, the water ripples black and white around the nose of the sealhand-written music score for a song about selkies

Left: image: Gunnie Moberg’s photograph of a young seal. Right: ‘The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry’. Written in 1938 by Professor Otto Andersson, arranged for voice & piano in 1952 by Frances Collinson. From the papers of Ernest Walker Marwick. Ref: D31/2/4

Poet and filmmaker Margaret Tait stares direct to camera, her white hair blown from her strong features. A white collared jumper looks at first like a dog collar. Strong light creates a glow from her white hair against the blcak shadowed background. Page from a story boarded film script. Drawing of couple walking along a beach.
Left: image: Gunnie Moberg, Portrait of Margaret Tait 1992. Right: Scene 21: Jim & Greta walking along a clifftop.’Detail from Margaret Tait’s storyboard for the script of the film ‘Blue Black Permanent’ released in 1992. Ref: D97/19/3

To compliment the exhibition we have delved in to the Orkney Archives and the books held in the Orkney Room and looked for documents that hold something in common with the photographs. The connections are sometimes visual and sometime literal. These matches have been chosen by Sarah Nicol, Gallery & Museum Intern with the Pier Arts Centre and Orkney Museums. Sarah has worked on the selection and mounting of this exhibition as part of her internship.
detail of Gunnie Moberg's portrait of Susanna of Skumpitoft, Faroe peeking out from her net curtains beside a detail from a Shetland knitting pattern book.
Detail of Gunnie Moberg’s portrait of Susanna of Skumpitoft, Sandoy, Faroe and details of No.26 & No. 27 floral knitting patterns from A Shetland Pattern Book by Mary Smith & Maggie Twatt. Published Shetland Times,Lerwick 1979. Library ref: 746Z

Detail of Gunnie Moberg photograph of a sea marker pile of stones next to detail of a geological map of Unst, ShetlandDetail Detail of Gunnie Moberg’s photograph ‘Sea Marker, Shetland’ with detail from ‘Geological Sketch Map of Unst, Summary of Progress of the Geological Survey for 1930 Part I’as found in The Metamorphic History of Unst Shetland Professor H.H. Read 1936 Library Ref: 551NZ

The exhibition will run until 9 January and is situated on the wavy wall on the left hand side of the main library room.

The opening hours are 9.15am to 5pm with late night opening on Mondays and Thursdays to 7pm. Closed Sundays.

Christmas opening times: closing on 24 December at 3pm and re-opening on Friday 3 January.

 detail of Gunnie Moberg's SKara Brae aerial photograph, it mirrors the early drawn map.Sketch map of Skara Brae dwellings

Left: detail of Gunnie Moberg’s aerial photograph of Skara Brae, Right ‘A Sketch of Skara Brae’ taken from the 1933 edition of Skara Brae Orkney, An Official Guide, the first visitors’ guide written by Professor Gordon Childe. Archive ref: D31/12/1/14

One thought on “White

  1. Pingback: Between | The Gunnie Moberg Archive

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