‘WHEN IT RAINS, WE HARVEST’ ‘Cuando Llueve, Cosechamos’ El Niño and Abundance in a Peruvian Fishing Community

15th February 2022


A new exhibition at the Scottish Fisheries Museum is set to bust negative images of the extreme weather phenomenon El Niño, showing the fishing and farming opportunities it has brought to the Sechura Desert in Northern Peru and exploring how other communities might take a similar adaptive approach to the effects of climate change.

When it Rains, We Harvest ‘Cuando Llueve, Cosechamos’, which opens at the Scottish Fisheries Museum on Anstruther Harbour, Fife, on 11 March, has been curated in collaboration with Museum and Gallery Studies MLitt students at the University of St Andrews.

The exhibition draws on the Fenómeno de Oportunidades ‘Phenomenon of Opportunities’ international research project.

Led by organisations on the ground in Peru and UK academia, including the University of St Andrews, the project explores how the extreme rainfall caused by this shifting band of warm water in the Pacific Ocean creates fertile land for agriculture and a lake system supporting a fishing industry in Sechura.

The exhibition includes research equipment, objects, photographs and interview extracts from the project.

Visitors will also see archaeological evidence from the Moche and Chimu cultures, modern-day fishing objects and contemporary artwork by Scottish artist Frances Law.

The exhibition concludes with a look at the more recent challenges of climate change faced by fishing communities in both Peru and North East Fife.

Olivia Stuck, Student at the University of St Andrews, explains:

“In an age before global warming and fears of environmental destruction, local communities saw El Niño as a powerful, beautiful and bountiful force of nature.

“The exhibition shows how, by taking an adaptive approach to El Niño, which was first recorded in 2150BC, the dry Sechura region harnesses the abundance of marine life and fertile soil it brings.

“We hope the exhibition stimulates thought-provoking conversations around these complex issues and everyone gains a greater understanding of the impact and opportunities of extreme climate change on fishing and farming in Peru and here in our local landscape of North East Fife.”

Linda Fitzpatrick, Curator at the Scottish Fisheries Museum, adds:

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with the University of St Andrews on another thoughtful and fascinating exhibition with such relevance and importance for today.

“We look forward to announcing a series of exhibition events bringing everyone together to celebrate our fishing industry at home and abroad and learn about and discuss the impact of climate change.”

When it Rains, We Harvest, which runs from 11 March to 19 June, is included in Museum Admission.

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