05 May 2023

Wilkin Chapman partner opens Imperial War Museum exhibition in Grimsby

Jonathan Goolden, partner at Wilkin Chapman, opened a new exhibition exploring the relationship between Grimsby and Iceland last week, in his role of honorary consul for Iceland.

Grimsby is one of seven consulates in the UK for the Nordic state, with Jonathan helping to further cement the close business relationships between the town and Iceland.

Titled 'Friends, Foes and Good Companions', the exhibition is open until 20th August at Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre. This £21k commission by the Imperial War Museum 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund is in partnership with Grimsby based Our Big Picture and is a fantastic cultural investment for the area.

Created by award winning artist Olivier Kugler and writer Andrew Humphreys, the exhibition explores relations between Grimsby and Iceland through conflict, cooperation, and fish and chips. 

Part of the exhibition explores the Cod Wars through the recollections of those that lived through it and reflects on the impact of the past and present on the industry. 

Former and current Grimsby fishermen, fishmongers, fish and chip shop owners, Icelandic ship crews, fishing company spokespersons, and politicians have all been interviewed for the project. Through their stories, visitors will gain insight into the history of the Cod Wars and the impact it had on the fishing industry.

The exhibition comprises around 30 artworks presented in the form of drawings with text, resembling a graphic novel. The majority of the artworks are on display in the new free exhibition at the Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre, but selected pieces will also be displayed around Grimsby in the form of an art trail. The trail can be followed with a specially created map accessed by QR code and will be featured on Freeman Street, Freeman Street Market, Docks Beers, and Grimsby town centre.

In addition to the interviews, the exhibition also explores fish auctions, smokehouses, Icelandic coast guard vessels, and presidential residencies. Visitors can also follow a catch of fish on its journey from the quayside in Reykjavik via the Vestmannaeyjar and Faroe Islands, and the port of Immingham, to a chip shop in Cleethorpes.

Jonathan supported the Friends, Foes and Good Companions project by helping to arrange interviews with key figures in Iceland. He also helped organise transportation on the Icelandic cargo vessel for the artist, which brings fish from Iceland to Immingham each week.

The Government of Iceland has 27 diplomatic missions in 22 countries around the world. It is also supported by over 200 honorary consuls in over 90 countries. Honorary consuls are unpaid professional people, often lawyers or those in business locally, who assist Icelandic citizens who need help abroad and promote trade and cultural links between Iceland and their home country. 

A large proportion of Iceland’s seafood is transported to the Humber ports for processing and onward shipping. The economic and community ties between the Humber and Iceland run deep and there are honorary consuls based in both Hull and Grimsby. 

Wilkin Chapman has hosted the Icelandic Consulate in Grimsby for 24 years. 

The Friends, Foes and Good Companions exhibition runs from 28th April to 20th August 2023 at Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre. It is free to the public and opens Tuesday to Sunday and bank holidays 10am to 5pm. 

Related news

Back to top