02/05/2019
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Galloway 1930s hydro scheme inspires Climate Change & Consumerism exhibition

7d3949c7-fe93-44f5-85d6-0ea37ac47e18

Upland artists are taking inspiration from Galloway’s 1930s clean power project in the struggle to create a greener future.

The legacy of a vast 1930s Scottish clean energy scheme is the inspiration behind Pennies from Heaven? an exhibition exploring energy, climate change and consumerism. The exhibition, featuring photographs, cyanotypes and 81 specially smelted aluminium plaques, is the culmination of the wider Energise residency.

Energise has been undertaken by internationally renowned photographers Morag Paterson and Ted Leeming, from near Dalry, Jason Nelson, from Dundee and Catherine Major from Moffat.

They worked with the community in the catchment area of the Galloway Glens hydro scheme to uncover how people felt when the huge engineering scheme started and what they think about it today.

The artists have also been looking at the urgent need for changes in how we generate power, the amount we use, and in consumer culture.

Exhibition details

The exhibition, at Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries runs from 11 May to 29 June 2019 and comes after a series of community events, including artists’ walks and a tour of the Tongland hydroelectric power station, near Kirkcudbright (see these images of the artists with 1930s equipment at the power station, and at the dam).

A centrepiece will be a large image, created by Morag, showing the lochs and rivers of the hydro scheme catchment area. The system is so carefully designed that a single drop of rain can be used to generate low cost, clean energy up to five times before it final reaches the sea.

Pennies from heaven

Artist Morag Paterson said: “When the hydro scheme started some people thought of its as ‘Pennies from Heaven’ because the rain on the Galloway hills was being turned into clean energy that could power thousands of homes. And it still powers around 79,000 homes today.

“It’s hugely inspiring that this immense project, which faced resistance at the time, is still going strong after so many decades and that it has become such a well-loved part of the landscape.

“But the brutal reality is that our demand for energy and consumer goods has just continued to grow and we now face a climate change emergency. This exhibition prompts questions about these issues and what we need to do to change.

“The urgency is very real – and it’s significant that at the same time that we were preparing this exhibition that David Attenborough addressed the United Nations, that the Extinction Rebellion protests started taking place and our next generation, young people like Greta Thunberg began demanding change.”

QUICK LINK: Create your perfect summer with Celebrate Scotland

Energise has been created by Upland CIC arts development organisation and is supported by Creative Scotland and the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership.

(Historic images copyright Dumfries & Galloway archives)

Back to "Events & Exhibitions" Category

02/05/2019 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Scottish astronomer Williamina Fleming died - On this day in history

Pioneering Scottish female astronomer Williamina Fleming died on 21 May 1911.


The Battle of Nechtansmere was fought - On this day in history

The Battle of Nechtansmere (or Blar Dhun Neachdain) was fought on 20 May 685AD. ...


Spotlight on Moidart History Group

The Moidart History Group is a research group that exists to preserve and explore the history of the area, ...


Author and diarist James Boswell died - On this day in history

Author and diarist James Boswell died on 19 May 1795, at the age of 54. ...


Other Articles

Photographer David Octavius Hill died - On this day in history

Pioneering photographer David Octavius Hill died on 17 May 1870.


Scottish explorer Sir Alexander Burnes was born - On this day in history

Scottish explorer Sir Alexander Burnes was born on 16 May 1805.


Mary Queen of Scots married her third husband - On this day in history

Mary Queen of Scots married her third husband, James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell on 15 May 1567. ...


St Andrews Society of Golfers was founded - On this day in history

The St Andrews Society of Golfers was founded on 14 May 1754.