The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh's mission is to explore and explain the world of plants
Taking its title from an extract from Kipling's poem based on the Irrawaddy; The Road to Mandalay, the exhibition was inspired by Cadell's detailed notes and illustrations discovered in the archives of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) where he was the former Vice President. The first study of the Irrawaddy since Cadell's original adventure in 1899, the exhibition brings together three key crucial organisations: the Royal Photographic Society, the Royal Geographic Society and the aforementioned RSGS.
Starting their journey in 1999, travel photographers Maurice and Norma made a series of trips to Burma, varying in length from one to three months at a time. Using a variety of vessels to traverse the Irrawaddy, from log rafts to the luxury of the Pandaw Riverboat, the resulting images provoke a range of diverse views of the colourful characters and places along Burma's arterial highway. As Norma Joseph comments, the idea was to create a series of living geography lessons:
"It was decided to parallel both his (Cadell's) journey and his illustrations by documenting in vibrant colour the life, the sights and usage of the river, thus creating a centenary comparison."
The exhibition explores the geography of the river including its seasonality, the diverse people that are dependent on it, the important religious and archaeological sites along the route, and finally, the River's historical importance (with a special focus given to the Scottish presence in Burma).
'And the Dawn Came up like Thunder' opens daily from 10am-3.30pm (Monday-Friday) and 12noon-3.30pm (Saturday and Sunday), 16 November 2002 until 5 January 2003 in the Exhibition Hall, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Admission is free.
Maurice Joseph is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Norma Joseph is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and was awarded an honorary Fellowship of the RSGS in 1995 for distinguished service to exploration and geography in general.
The exhibition has been sponsored by Olympus Cameras.