A Pilot Whale Made out of 32.000 Toy Soldiers
Can art generate constructive dialogue and bridge the gap in the divisive debate surrounding pilot whale killing in the Faroe Islands?
Edward Fuglø, Whale War, 2019. Mixed media.
32.000 toy soldiers transformed into a life size pilot whale is meant to generate constructive dialogue and bridge the gap in the divisive debate surrounding pilot whale killing in the Faroe Islands (known locally as grindadráp).
In the past decades the practice has sparked a controversial debate and attracted significant criticism, most vocally by animal welfare activists.
If you lean in and listen closely, you can hear some of the many views on the grindadráp:
- Paul Watson, founder of the marine animal conservation organization Sea Shepherd, represents an activist viewpoint with statements of condemnation.
- American actress, model and animal activist, Pamela Anderson, states her strong views against the killing of pilot whales.
- French animal welfare activist changed her opinion after visiting and meeting the Faroese people, and says ”They are a fantastic people and foreigners should not meddle with their culture”.
- A fourteen-year-old Faroese boy explains how he was taught to kill pilot whales by his father who learned it from his father, emphasizing the importance of tradition.
- A Faroese doctor is advising fertile women against eating pilot whale meat as it contains dangerous levels of mercury.
- Traditional folk ballad about the pilot whale hunt – ”Grindavísan”- is performed during a passionate chain dance.
- A Faroese man complains about violent behaviour of some animal welfare activists travelling to the Faroe Islands, and describes them as being similar to terrorists.
- Sounds from a pilot whale hunt can be heard, but the artwork also lets the pilot whale speak - listen to its characteristic song.
A pilot whale made entirely from plastic might imply the contemporary reality of polluted and plastic filled oceans. Thus, the National Gallery attempts to create awareness about the state of the oceans of our planet in line with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, by exhibiting artworks inciting consideration for the environment, animal welfare and global sustainability.
Ultimately the gallery wishes for Whale War to inform about the grindadráp, hopefully resulting in a more constructive dialogue and nuanced critique.