Scottish jewellery show commemorates Norway tragedy

EDINBURGH Fri May 18, 2012 12:08pm EDT

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - The 77 people killed by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway last year have been commemorated in a display of specially commissioned jewellery which opened on Friday at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Curator Rose Watban said 16 established or up-and-coming jewellers in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Denmark and Scotland were contacted to create items "inspired by a place they love, as well as draw inspiration from each other's work".

Special wooden boxes of Scottish ash wood were sent to the artists to fill them with objects and materials reflecting their chosen places to form a "three-dimensional sketchbook of their observations" and produce an item of jewellery.

Each box was then sent on anonymously to another of the artists to create a piece of jewellery inspired by the first recipient.

Norwegian jeweller Ingjerd Hanevoid received her box on the day of the massacre in which eight people died in a bomb attack in Oslo and 69 young people attending a camp were slaughtered by gunfire on an island near the capital.

Breivik is currently on trial. He admits the killings but denies criminal guilt, arguing the killings were necessary since his victims were "traitors" who promoted Muslim immigration and multiculturalism, thereby threatening Norwegian ethnic purity.

"Ingjerd's response was to create 77 beautiful pearl pins to commemorate the victims and reflect her sense of despair," Watban said.

She said the exhibition, "A sense of place, new jewellery from Northern Lands" which runs in the museum's main hall to September 16, was initiated by jeweller Beth Legg as part of a doctoral project at the Edinburgh College of Art.

"In this diverse group of new work, we can observe poetic response to feelings of belonging through the language of making," Legg said.

Watban, senior curator of applied arts and design at the museum, said the austere exhibition was "very Nordic - I think jewellery from that area has quite a different aesthetic from jewellery from Germany and The Netherlands, for example, which we tend to be more familiar with as contemporary work."

"So I think some of these pieces are actually quite challenging."

She said she would like the exhibition to go on show in the Nordic countries after Edinburgh, and possibly purchase - money forthcoming - some of the items for the museum's own collection of contemporary jewellery.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)