Hannah Whaley’s second contribution to the River Deep Mountain High exhibition was inspired by a photo of a captive polar bear. Hannah’s charcoal sketches & narrative tell of a bear untethered to roam free with his companion, a little boy.

Towards Tundra by Hannah Whaley
Charcoal drawings and typefaced words on A2 mesaboard 

 ”The black and white photographs of the roped polar bear were emotive to view. I have used storytelling to reimagine captivity and cruelty as a mythic fragment of friendship and freedom. A western account of the notoriously treacherous whaling industry is disrupted by notions of native spirituality, which permits the concept of reciprocal relationships and communication between humans and wild animals of the Arctic. This is further emanated by the pictorial storytelling which accompanies the words. Retaining the black and white of the photographs, I used charcoal to create stylised sketch representations of the bear, the boy, and the bonds.”

Hannah Whaley is a Scottish writer, most recently published in NorthwordsNow, and an Amazon Best Selling Author for four children’s picture books which she wrote and illustrated. www.hannahwhaley.com. 

River Deep Mountain High was an exhibition in the University’s Lamb Gallery to mark the Year of Coast and Water curated by Archive Services. Artists, designers and creative writers were invited to respond to the University’s rich archive, museum and rare book collections on the themes of rivers, seas, coasts and mountains. Original photographs, journals, plans, models and specimens relating to whaling, the River Tay, the natural world and mountaineering inspired jewellery, artwork, sculpture, poetry and much more.

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