Poles apart – A whaling exhibition :: Uma exposição sobre a caça à baleia

A while ago I worked as a volunteer cataloguing whaling records. I learned a lot about whales and the whaling industry, but it was also a very intense experience. During the many hours I spent looking at the records I was captivated by amazing descriptions of the different whale species, although I was also shocked by the brutality of the whaling industry.

This was part of a project of the University of St Andrews Special Collections, where I work as an archivist and digitisation officer. The project includes an exhibition, which is currently on display at the Scottish Fisheries Museum. It talks about whaling, and how once whales had almost disappeared in the Arctic, the industry moved to the Antarctic with the expectation of finding a never ending supply of whales. It is a sad story and yet one that needs to be told.

While the exhibition was being prepared I was challenged to make a few whales to include in the displays. I was really pleased with the idea, so I did a few whale species with which I came across while I was cataloguing. Among the most hunted species were: the right whales, the blue whale, the sperm whale and the humpbacks. From these I made the sperm and the humpbacks whales. I also made a right whale dolphin, a quite unknown species that lives in the eastern coast of Africa, that I came to know while looking at the records.

You can learn more about the exhibition here.

Á algum tempo atrás trabalhei como voluntária a catalogar documentos sobre a caça à baleia. Aprendi imenso sobre baleias e sobre a industria da caça à baleia, mas também foi uma experiência muito forte. Durante as muitas horas que passei a ler documentos fiquei cativada pelas descrições fantásticas das diferentes espécies de baleia, mas também fiquei chocada com a brutalidade da indústria da caça.

Isto foi parte de um projecto das Colecções Especiais da Universidade de St Andrews, onde trabalho como arquivista e digitalizadora. O projecto inclui uma exposição, que está neste momento no Museu Escocês das Pescas. Fala sobre a caça à baleia, e de como as espécies começaram a escassear no Ártico. Nessa altura a industria virou-se para o sul na expectativa de encontrar um número ilimitado de baleias. É uma história triste mas que ainda assim precisa de ser contada.

Enquanto a exposição estava a ser preparada perguntaram-me se queria fazer algumas peças para pôr na exposição. Fiquei muito entusiasmada com a ideia e e fiz algumas das espécies que encontrei enquanto estive a catalogar. Entre as espécies mais afectadas pela caça estavam: as baleias das espécies eubalaena, a baleia azul, os cachalotes e as baleias de bossa. Destas espécies fiz o cachalote e a baleia de bossa. Também fiz um golfinho-liso-do-sul, uma espécie sobre a qual não se sabe muito que habita na costa oeste de África, e que fiquei a conhecer através dos documentos que cataloguei.

Podem descobrir mais sobre a exposição aqui.

A display showing some of the products of the whaling industry, including oil, whale teeth and soap

A display showing some of the products of the whaling industry, including oil, whale teeth and soap

Detail of the display showing whaling products, with the sperm whale.

Detail of the display showing whaling products, with the sperm whale.

Whaling in the Arctic often included seal hunt. This display shows records for whales captures and on the left of the cask, the humpback whale.

Whaling in the Arctic often included seal hunt. This display shows records for whales captured and on the left of the cask, the tiny humpback whale.

The Discovery Committee, set to monitor the whaling industry in the Antarctic, also came accross some new species of whales. In the middle, you can find the right whale dolphin.

The Discovery Committee, set to monitor the whaling industry in the Antarctic, also came accross some new species of whales. In the middle, you can find the right whale dolphin.

Poles apart exhibition

The quote at the end of the exibition.

One thought on “Poles apart – A whaling exhibition :: Uma exposição sobre a caça à baleia

  1. Pingback: Sperm whales :: Cachalotes | Creatureshire

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