Torry will take pride of place on the walls of one of Scotland’s national galleries next year after an Aberdeen photographer’s snap was selected to be part of a rotating exhibition.
Janine Ewen’s photograph of a fish mural on the wall of a Couper’s Seafood factory in Torry caught the eye of curators at the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh and is being shared online as part of its 2020: Stories, Portraits and Visions display entitled You Are Here.
The exhibition is dedicated to sharing the experiences of people in Scotland during the coronavirus pandemic and from the selection which is already online, five photographs will soon be shown in the Queen Street gallery alongside a rotating display of other public submissions.
Ms Ewen, 32, first discovered the photographic potential of her home city whilst on a socially-distanced sensory “sea sounds” walk organised by North East Creatives as part of its Look Again Aberdeen project in July.
“The focus of the walk was to relish the acoustic environment and aesthetic pleasures of listening, noticing sounds that we fail to pay attention to, different volumes of sounds, sound events and sound textures within the industrial urban landscape,” the criminology and sociology researcher added.
“I experienced a visual, sensory and therapeutic stimulus beyond sound. I had such an interesting experience that I decided to go back and explore the area further and wider to incorporate the harbour, Torry and up to St Fittick’s Park.”
It was there she came across the mural on South Esplanade Road, cast part in shadow, that she felt embodied the community’s determination in keeping it’s head above water, so to speak.
“I found some interesting visuals, including graffiti and street stickers,” Ms Ewen added.
“However, the mural and the sun shining on the fish with the darkness below felt special and important.
“This mural on a fish factory gave me the perception of the Torry community—keeping oneself above the dark shadows.
“The sun still shines on fishes, giving them a needed spotlight. Torry has a long-standing social stigma attached to its deprivation, poverty and crime. It shows why dark spots of Torry’s history should not be swept aside.”
A National Galleries of Scotland curator said: “We hope this display offers visitors an opportunity to reflect on the events of this year and glimpse brief snapshots into other lives lived during this difficult and troubling time.”
You can see her submission on the National Galleries website.