Kate Downie

Studio ,Kopervik, Norway.

In the late autumn of 2007 Ilived as an artist in residence for 7 weeks on the Norwegian Island of Karmøy, one of 6 invited Scottish artists on a cultural exchange ‘The North Sea Project’, in celebration of Stavanger as a European City of Culture for 2008.  Before leaving home, I imagined myself in a minimalist romantic coastal landscape pacing the shores in creative contemplation of a sea-slashed geology. The outcome has become something far more interesting and difficult.  In the end the Norway work represented a melding of my imaginative projections onto practically virgin territory with very different cultural points of reference.

Living amongst a sea-faring society was a privilege. Although I often felt like a stowaway in other peoples’lives, coming from a industrially separated society such as Scotland, it was thrilling to watch fishing boats come into working harbours, the international and local ferries, supply ships, cargo vessels, yachts and yawls track their way through the narrow international Shipping lane of the Karmsund, that crucial ‘Northern Way’ after which Norway was possibly named over 1000 yearsago in era of the Viking.  But of course, being the 21st Century and being Norway, my own delight in addressing that very functional aspect of the Norse psyche was somewhat in opposition to both my and their romantic notions of themselves.