Contemporary artwork to be shown at Balmoral Castle for first time

The Salmon School installation, created by artist Joseph Rossano, is designed to represent a school of the fish in the wild.

31 March 2022

A piece of contemporary art is being displayed at Balmoral Castle for the first time as part of an exhibition to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The installation, Salmon School, created by artist Joseph Rossano, consists of 250 mirrored glass forms, suspended in the air to look like a school of wild salmon.

The installation aims to highlight the plight of wild salmon and the importance of salmon conversation, as climate change and biodiversity loss threaten their existence in the wild.

It will take centre stage at the Platinum Jubilee exhibition, Life at Balmoral, which will be on show in the castle ballroom between April 1 and August 2 this year.

Mr Rossano said: “The Salmon School is an international collaborative performance project that contextualises the finality of a seemingly infinite resource.

“A synthesis of art and science, the Salmon School fosters environmental awareness, bringing together diverse communities for a greater good — cold, clean water.

“Embracing art’s ability to disarm, to make something beautiful — a sculpture mimicking an ideal, a restored ecosystem — the project achieves measurable change through its actions and initiatives.”

First conceived and shown in the Pacific Northwest in the US, Salmon School was then shown at Cop26, the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November 2021.

Salmon conservation work has been supported by the Queen, the Royal Family and the Balmoral Estate on the River Dee over the last 170 years.

The Balmoral Estate works closely with the River Dee Trust to deliver practical salmon restoration to help protect the endangered fish.

Salmon School artwork
The artwork is described as a synthesis of art and science (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Most recently, across Deeside, the River Dee Trust and Dee District Salmon Fishery Board have introduced a One Million Trees campaign to plant riverbank trees, to help restore the Dee and save its salmon.

Trees are said to have multiple benefits in helping wild salmon to thrive, including providing shade over the water, nourishment through leaves and insects, and helping to stabilise the riverbanks to prevent erosion.

In the last five years, the Balmoral Estate has planted 300,000 trees along the River Dee.

The work to protect wild salmon also includes using windblown trees to create large wooden structures in the rivers on the estate, to offer a variety of salmon habitats, which in turn give shelter from bad weather and trap nutrients.

Small wooden dams have also been created in the estate’s smaller streams to help river flows in times of flood and drought.

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