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New exhibition examines oil in the north-east


By David Porter

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Crude oil and its role in the local, national and international context, will be put under the spotlight, as a new art exhibition gets underway in Aberdeen.

The exhibition, ‘CRUDE’, will be showcased in Gray’s School of Art’s creative unit, Look Again’s Project Space on St.Andrews Street from Friday and will run for over two weeks.

This is the first, full exhibition to be held within the gallery, 18 months after its closure due to Covid-19.

Gray’s graduate, Rachel Grant, who graduated from the art school as an undergraduate in 2012 and with a masters in 2018, is curating a dynamic exhibition after securing Creative Scotland funding through her curatorial platform, Fertile Ground.

Located in Aberdeen, the previously self-proclaimed Oil Capital of Europe, the exhibition will drill down into aspects of oil narratives which perpetuates the notion that ‘oil creates wealth for all’ and examine how oil has influenced political, social and economic life, the world over.

Gray’s graduate, Rachel Grant said: “CRUDE is an exciting exhibition that explores our complex relationship with crude oil.

"Those who visit will enjoy a set of newly commissioned work that challenges the common perception that oil was a wealth creator.

“The exhibition features work from artists Ashanti Harris and Alison Scott and writer Shane Strachan.

"It explores different aspects of these relationships and examines the influence of North Sea oil production and its impact on the social fabric of the UK and Scotland since its discovery in the 1970s, to more recent explorations for oil in Guyana. Aberdeen’s connection to this, was marked in 2019 when the city was twinned with Guyana’s capital, Georgetown.”

“It’s great to have this opportunity to showcase ‘CRUDE’ in The Look Again Project Space Gallery.

The Look Again project space will host a new exhibition entitled CRUDE
The Look Again project space will host a new exhibition entitled CRUDE

"I would like to thank Creative Scotland for their funding and Gray’s School of Art, for making this exhibition possible and for their support to freelance art practitioners such as myself.”

As part of the exhibition, a selection of texts will be on display including locally produced publications from the Aberdeen People’s Press ‘Oil Over Troubled Water, A Report and Critique of Oil Developments in North East Scotland’ and selected editions of ‘BlowOut’ magazine, a publication produced by and for oil workers in the North East.

The exhibition runs until September 12.

The opening hours are: Sat/Sun: 11-5pm, Wed: 12-5pm, Thurs: 5-8pm, Fri: 12-5pm

Look Again is a creative unit based at Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University. It receives support from Creative Scotland and Aberdeen City Council. Look Again is committed to making an impact in the region by celebrating new art and design in public spaces and by encouraging creative talent to stay and work in the north east.

The Crude project is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development and Look Again.


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