Prior to the Bergen Festival Exhibition of 1997
the artist received, and accepted , an invitation
from the Royal Norwegian Foreign Office to
stage a touring exhibition to the following places:
The Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh
St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney.
Sumburgh Airport Buildings, Shetland
Thurso and Wick, N.Scotland
Durham Cathedral, N.E. England
The tour commenced in Edinburgh in May and ended in November 1998
There have always existed close links between Norway and Scotland, The Islands and the North East of England. With the advent of greater independence for Scotland within the United Kingdom, the Royal Norwegian Foreign Office was pleased to affirm these existing links and strengthen the bonds of friendship.
The choice of venues was by no means accidental.
Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland and the seat of the exciting New Scottish Parliament, was the start of this journey of threads. Professor Duncan MacMillan,FRSA,FRSE,HRSA, art historian,critic and curator of the Talbot Rice Gallery which forms a part of the Old University of Edinburgh, had visited the Bergen Exhibition and warmly welcomed this tour to Scottish soil and to Edinburgh.
is a major tourist attraction for visitors from around the world.
It is also the focal point for the annual St. Magnus Festival, an event similar to the Bergen Festival, and the 'Journey of Threads' exhibition was staged at the time of this the 22nd St. Magnus Festival.
It is also to be noted that the Cathedral itself, over 800 years old, was built at a time when Orkney was under Norse rule. There are very strong links between Orkney and Norway - these links, via The Cathedral, also 'thread' their way from Durham Cathedral.
From ancient to modern, so travelled the journey as it then embraced the Airport Facilities at Sumburgh
in Shetland. Not only were the art works displayed within the main public areas, but the airport
management also made available some viewing room/s on the upper level, for the benefit of travellers
with more time availabe for viewing the works.
"It is generally agreed that the (stone) masons employed in Kirkwall (on the St. Magnus Cathedral in 1137)
had been trained at Durham."
Thus the Journey of Threads completed it's schedule with an exhibition inside this massive and inspiring Durham Cathedral, which again is a major attraction for world-wide tourists.
It was amzing that consent was given for this massive solo exhibition in this historic
building where great care had to be taken to avoid any damage to the stonework...this meant that scaffolding was erected to hold all the artworks and a special structure created to hold the 'Hope' (Rainbow) which was exhibited in front of the great West Door.It was a major attraction and a big favourite, especially with children
At both Edinburgh and Durham facilities enabled the exhibiting of a 'travelling version' of Ragnhild Monsen's
work called "Hope", more generally referred to as 'Rainbow."
"Hope" is a very large work, originally commissioned as an altar piece for a church at Sorreisa, North Norway - which lies well inside the Polar Circle.
The version that travelled with the 'Journey of Threads' was only 6 metres long, 4.8 metres high and almost 1 metre wide. It's total weight was over half a ton and it comprised almost 4,000 individually hand-dyed nylon threads - incidentally purchased from a fishing net supplier in the area of Sorreisa - finished at the bases
with a hand-polished stainless steel tubing.
The artist chose to create 'Hope' for the Church commission because it is the symbol of God's promise to all the peoples and creatures of the earth.
At this point in this text, the artist and her team, wish to extend again her most sincere thanks
for all the many kindnesses, the planning, the exceptional hard work, the reception 'feasts', the thoughtful and considerate wealth of hospitality
that was extended to her by all during this memorable tour.
The ability of the human spirit to 'pull out all the stops' in the name of art and inspiration was never more nobly demonstrated than by so many, so very many, during this 'Journey of Threads'.