Eyes as Big as Plates: Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen

Sat 19 Dec - Sat 30 Jan 2021

Eyes as Big as Plates, by Norwegian-Finnish artist duo Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen, comprises of portraits of people the duo met while touring the Outer Hebrides in early summer 2019, as well as works from as far apart as Greenland, Norway, South Korea and Tasmania.

In 2011, Karoline and Riitta embarked upon their Eyes as Big as Plates project to study explanations for natural phenomena from Norwegian folklore. Since then, the artists have travelled to fifteen countries, and the project – part sculpture, part installation, and part photography – has evolved into an ongoing exploration of how contemporary humans relate to nature and our surroundings.

Combining their different but complementary skills from beginning-to-end of the process, Karoline and Riitta’s series features subjects ranging from artists to zoologists by way of retired farmers, pub-patrons, fishermen, plumbers, opera singers, housewives, academics, and ninety-year-old parachutists.

As it continues to cross borders, Eyes as Big as Plates aims to represent a marginalised demographic, and to generate new perspectives on who we are and where we belong.

Head of Visual Arts Roddy Murray said: “In this difficult year we are particularly pleased to have this show in our programme. An ongoing project, it has expanded beyond its Norwegian origins, transcending borders and boundaries, from multi-national location shots to major exhibition centres worldwide. 

“Eyes as Big as Plates offers a unique perspective on the human condition, the environment and our place within it. And of course, it’s apposite that almost half the images in this iteration are from the Outer Hebrides.”


The Eyes as Big as Plates exhibition is the culmination of An Lanntair’s ‘Cianalas’ project work with the Nordic photography duo Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth, funded by National Lottery Community Fund and Life Changes Trust.

In a two week period Riitta and Karoline travelled from the Butt of Lewis to South Uist capturing older people in their natural environments and finding out more about their life stories.

The show features 16 images from, as Riitta put it “The Outer Hebrides and The Rest of the World” along with a set of smaller photos from other shoots in Iceland, Senegal, Japan, Finland, Greenland, Norway and the Faroe Islands.

View a virtual tour of the exhibition

Families may wish to use these downloadable pdf resource packs to talk about the art works together :

Sùilean cho Mòr ri Truinnsearan – Gaelic gallery pack – families

Eyes as big as plates – English gallery pack – families