...mas aithne ca' bheil e? | ...if you know where it is?
The exhibition opening at an Lanntair on Friday 25th March is an exploration of storytelling in many forms. An Lanntair has been working with Ian Stephen for more than a year, to make and commission new work as an exploration of how a story can exist in many different versions. A range of works has been made by individual artists and by linked artists in collaboration. But all of these artists are essentially storytellers in the project.
This show has become a chart, tracing a route from Brittany to Iceland, but the Shiant Islands and the St Kilda archipelago feature strongly. Traditional stories from the Hebrides and from further Islands from along the sea-route are the basis of all the varied works.
As the exhibition has been built, a series of workshops has been held with Lewis schools. An Lanntair has joined forces with the Inverness based Highland Print Studio to initiate some innovative story and printmaking sessions. John McNaught , the Studio Manager, brought a mobile monoprint press to several of the rural island schools as well as to the education room in the Arts Centre. The young people listened to several tales and made their own monoprints.
John then involved the classes in the design of large-scale story-banners. These
will be suspended in an Lanntair for the duration of the exhibition.
So the children's work is displayed to the same standards as the photography, prints, paintings, films and sculpture of a range of invited artists. Some of these have international reputations and some are less well known but all have explored the storytelling theme with their own particular slant.
The stories of voyages range from those delivered in a tranquil tone to adrenalin adventures. Emmanuelle Wackerlé's account of an April epic from Orkney to Stornoway is set beside Michael Skelly's stunning but peaceful photography, showing sgoth Jubilee en route to Sula Sgeir.
Two new films both have the Shiant Islands as a focus but they are completely different in their approach to a story. A Boat Retold by Sean Martin and Louise Milne is a poetic documentary centred on a return voyage to the Shiants by a vessel rebuilt from the keel up. Sruth nam Fear Gorm is Andy Mackinnon's take on the story of the blue men who haunt the Sound of Shiants. Both films use new music from the Lewis based pianist and writer Peter Urpeth. He is joined by the internationally renowned vocal improvisation artist Maggie Nicols. The films will be shown on the big screen at 8.30pm on Saturday 26th March with live music.
We are grateful for the support of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, University for the Creative Arts, Reiach and Hall Architects, The Hope Scott Trust, Highland Print Studio, Collins Galleries, Taigh Chearsabhagh, the Pier Arts Centre, The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Alba Chruthachail Creative Scotland.
Have you been to this event? Share your insights and give it a review below.