Opened in the Sir Duncan Rice library on September 5 the exhibition blends the work of Barbara Rae and artefacts from University collections which tell the story of John Rae (1813-1893), the first European to discover the fate of Franklin and his men while at the same time discovering the only navigable Northwest Passage.

Artist Barbara Rae followed in the footsteps of her namesake John Rae when making multiple journeys across the Arctic, creating a new body of work deeply connected to the region’s unique landscape.

Her paintings capture the critical condition of the arctic highlighting global warming which means that the once inaccessible Northwest Passage is now open a great deal of the year.

The exhibition brings together Barbara Rae’s contemporary work with a retelling of the story of Orcadian John Rae, who trained as a surgeon and in 1833 signed on for a short term with the Hudson Bay Company in Canada. Captivated by the landscape and lifestyle, Rae stayed with the company until 1856, working on several major mapping and charting projects.

He spent his free time hunting and learning travel and survival skills from the First Nation and Metis people - including how to use sleds and snow-shoes - and these are credited with making him a proficient Arctic explorer.

Barbara's work will be displayed alongside items connected to Arctic exploration, that help tell the often-overlooked story of John Rae, including intricate ivory carvings, snowshoes, and other tools. These are exhibited alongside 19th century books on Arctic exploration written by John Rae himself, and his contemporaries.

The Exhibition is open until December 16, 2022 at The Gallery, Sir Duncan Rice Library, University of Aberdeen. Opening hours daily 11am – 7pm. Entry is free and all are welcome.

Read the original announcement here.