A new exhibition is remembering Kirkcaldy's limomolum!

A new exhibition exploring the decline of the linoleum industry in Kirkcaldy is coming to Kirkcaldy Galleries from Saturday.

Thursday, 9th March 2017, 12:26 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:03 am
Artist Jeremy Hutchison at Kirkcaldy Galleries (Pic by Fife Photo Agency
Artist Jeremy Hutchison at Kirkcaldy Galleries (Pic by Fife Photo Agency

Fife Contemporary is bringing the new work by London-based artist, Jeremy Hutchison to town.

And it’s called Limomolum after a famous Billy Connolly sketch on how people couldn’t pronounce the word!

It runs at Kirkcaldy Galleries from March 11 to June 11.

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Kirkcaldy B-Girl Nancy McAndrew AKA Traki-G

The exhibition which is a mixture of audio-visual work, photographs and text, explores the effect of de-industrialisation on the town which, for over a century, was the axis of the global floorcovering industry.

Although some linoleum is still made at Forbo-Nairn in the town, at one point, there were six manufacturers employing thousands of Fifers

However, the 1960s saw a sharp decline in the demand for the product and by the mid 1980s almost all the work had disappeared.

Now, working closely with a group of local jobseekers and homeless people, Jeremy has produced a new body of work around the subject.

Tiles being checked and boxed up at Kirkcaldy's M Nairn & Co Linoleum Works

The local job centre was re-imagined as an ad-hoc linocutting workshop, while the homeless shelter was turned into a centre of contemporary performance, where residents acted, shot and edited a series of videos.

In another performance, Nancy McAndrew, AKA Traki-G, the town’s 52 year-old celebrity breakdancer, is seen performing on an unfurled roll of linoleum, situated on the derelict remains of the plant.

The 52-year-old from Kirkcaldy, first attracted Jeremy’s attention when he went online to find out about the history of linoleum, and saw pictures of her displaying her skills.

Nancy explained: “He tracked me down and said he had read about me and would I like to take part in the film.

Making parquet linoleum at Nairn's

“It was totally random, but very interesting and I was thrilled to be involved.

“I am still actively breakdancing and recently took part in an international tournament, as well as teaching breakdance classes at NRJ Dance Studio in Kirkcaldy.”

Through a series of videos, prints, performances and texts, the exhibition traces a relationship between the current experience of unemployment in Kirkcaldy, and its thriving industrial past.

The title of the exhibition refers to a routine by the comedian Billy Connolly, where he claims that the town’s linoleum industry went down the pan because nobody could pronounce the word linoleum.

Kirkcaldy B-Girl Nancy McAndrew AKA Traki-G

The exhibition includes a publication by the artist, and is accompanied by an audio guide written and performed by James Inglis, an unemployed resident of Kirkcaldy.

Jeremy is also planning to take it out to local job clubs, homeless accommodation units and other venues to reach a wider audience.

“I have a personal relationship to manufacturing and industry and this all started out with me wanting to explore my roots.

“I first set foot in Kirkcaldy 18 months ago on a fact finding mission, and I was a bit scared, being a southern softie, that people wouldn’t get what I was trying to achieve. It has been a fantastic experience and I have really grown as a person through it.

“I now understand a lot more about where I am from, and that a lot of the good fortune I have had has had a lot to do with Kirkcaldy.

“I would like to thank everyone who has welcomed me to the town and I certainly haven’t encountered the dour Scottish people I was expecting to meet.

Tiles being checked and boxed up at Kirkcaldy's M Nairn & Co Linoleum Works

“By spending time with vulnerable people living in precarious conditions I’ve learned a lot about humility.

“It’s impossible to go to a job club and speak to people and not feel that the government has done anything but create lasting harm to a great swathe of the British working class,” he added.

Making parquet linoleum at Nairn's