Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Ceangal-Connections, day 1

My artist friend Lynn Bennett-MacKenzie who travelled to Russia with me last year, has been busy working on an international artists residencies project called Ceangal - which is Gaelic for Connections. She is working in collaboration with artist Somu Desai.

As a precursor to the main residential programme which will take place in 2012, Somu is currently visiting from India, these two will be a putting on a presentation at Inchmore Gallery on the 23rd September. Part of the work being undertaken during this visit is creating some art installations on Beinn Eighe nature reserve near Loch Maree, with the permission of SNH and participation of local school pupils. Artists Tanu Banaik, originally from India,  has travelled from London to help out, Gairloch Artist Ingela Davis and myself are also  involved.
 The BBC picked up the story this week.
 The idea was to transform natural objects in a simple and achievable manner. I wasn't sure how the school pupils would respond to coating driftwood, skulls and stones with tinfoil, but their reaction far exceeded our expectations. These objects will then be placed in situ in the nature reserve. The first stop was Kinlochewe primary school, the group also contained very enthusiastic nursery children. These small village schools are always a pleasure to work in, you couldn't ask for nicer behaved and enthusiastic children!
As well as covering more stones than we anticipated, the children were taken with the idea of placing them in  a natural setting and had some very imaginative ideas about what the stones looked like, or what people would think upon finding them. What i loved was the way they naturally gravitated to the silver pile and started spontaneously arranging them into sculptural piles ( even though the weather proof glue wasn't dry & we had lots of repair work to do ).

Next stop was Gairloch High School where we were to tackle some more ambition shapes. We were joined by some of the Gairloch primary pupils, including ones from the Gaelic medium unit. Before work started we had a quick cup of tea in the art department, which was one of the most inspiring school art rooms I've even seen! What a sanctuary, the pupils high standard of work in there is a credit to the Art teacher Pat.

Lynn & Somu taking 5 minutes out to watch all the activity in the class room.
Tomorrow we will finish off the foiling. Wednesday taking the pupils to the nature reserve to install the artworks. Wednesday evening;

Its a privilege to work with so many inspiring artists! ( and Somu makes the best cup of Chai ! )

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