Birsay whalebone, Mainland, Orkney, Scotland, Summer Salon, Arti et Amicitiae

Delighted my photo of the Birsay Whalebone will be included in the fourth and final Summer Salon at Arti et Amicitiae, the Dutch fine arts society.

Located on Orkney (Scotland), from the front it’s just a few bones of some vast and long dead mammal. But seen from the back, the Birsay Whalebone shape shifts into a bird of prey zoning in on its next meal, an experience that’s both repellent and enthralling.

To put it in another context, in the 1870s when this Baleen whale was washed ashore, it was also an absolute goldmine for the local people. They cut up the carcass and used of every bit they could: oil, bones, and meat. However, they did not have the correct lifting gear to roll the whale over and get at the blubber on its underside. So there it remained for 25 long years, rotting away on the beach and stinking out the entire neighbourhood!

The exhibition

The Summer Salon – HURRAY, SUMMER KEEPS COMING – will be held on the ground floor in Arti’s capacious café/restaurant. The show will be open Tuesday to Sunday and from 26 July to 8 September 2021. Opening hours from 12 to 5 pm. In August, Tues-Sat, 11 am to 6 pm.

The café is open Monday to Friday and from 12.30 to 5 pm; it’s reasonably priced and there’s a different menu every day.

Arti et Amicitiae, Rokin 112, 1012 LB Amsterdam, 020-6245134.