image: Gunnie Moberg, Honeysuckle cottage, A shed in Hamnavoe, Shetland circa 2003
Dave Hammond recently came down from Shetland and made a short documentary about the Gunnie Moberg Archive here in Kirkwall, Orkney. The film can now be seen in the visual arts section on ArtinScotland.tv
Dave was interested in the national significance of Gunnie Moberg’s work and in the film he highlighted that her work is part of collections at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the Scottish Parliament.
In 2004 Gunnie was commissioned to produce a series of artworks for the new parliament building in Holyrood.
image: Gunnie Moberg North Ronladsay Lighthouse circa 2003
‘I had the idea of a big space and felt the images had to be simple and bold to draw people to them.’ Gunnie Moberg 2003
Gunnie provided the parliament with an artist statement about the commission. In her papers here at the archive is the handwritten statement that she faxed south.
Art consultants Art in Partnership included Gunnie in their list of artists for the permanent parliament collection. Gunnie took her place alongside Will Maclean, Alison Watt, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Christine Borland, Eduardo Paolozzi, Norma Starszakowna and Ian Hamilton Finlay.
The commission took Gunnie Moberg two and a half years to complete and resulted in eleven pieces which are now part of the Scottish Parliament Art Collection.
image: Gunnie Moberg Salmon nets, Out Skerries, Shetland circa 2003
image: Gunnie Moberg Seaweed-eating Sheep North Ronladsay, Orkney circa 2003
The seaweed-eating sheep was a later addition to the original ten.
Before the work went south to Edinburgh, the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness held an exhibition ‘From Hamnavoe to Holyrood’. The results of the commission were shown and exhibition visitors were invited to help Gunnie decide on which ones should travel from Hamnavoe* to Holyrood.
An article about Gunnie’s Holyrood commission, written for Northings by artist and poet Alistair Peebles, from Valentine’s day a decade ago can be found here.
*Hamnavoe [the haven bay in Old Norse] is the name of the bay beside the town of Stromness. More from Orkneyjar here. The ferry that sails between Scrabster on the Scottish Mainland and Stromness in Orkney bears the name MV Hamnavoe. The name Hamnavoe also appears in Shetland where the shell encrusted house at the top of the page was taken.