|ẺGHANN MacCOLL: EDGES / OIREAN - Press Release|
|Ẹghann MacColl is the 2005 winner of the prestigious Alastair Salvesen Travel Scholarship. This solo exhibition is the culmination of Ẹghann’s trip around the fringe of the North Atlantic, from Shetland to the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Nova Scotia. Ẹghann's paintings are developed from the extensive drawings made on his travels, documenting and referencing particular places of interest to him. His work is strongly based on the development of primary research drawings and this exhibition highlights this process.
A Gaelic speaker, Ẹghann is interested in the influence of migrating peoples across the North Atlantic and looks particularly at issues of identity, place and continuity of culture. He explored the contrasts and clear parallels of the Nordic regions of Shetland, Faroe and Iceland and their relationships to us in Scotland, the shared ancient histories and the modern economic differences and approach to emigration as a necessity. Across the Atlantic in Nova Scotia he found the Gaelic Communities struggling to survive within contemporary Canada, alongside other communities such as the indigenous Mi’K Maq population, often facing similar problems of depopulation and unemployment. Histories separate, yet shared.
With young people still leaving the smaller communities and continuing the Scottish diaspora, our focus tends to be drawn south, towards these urban centres. Ẹghann's passion for shared history, language and culture redefines these geographical perceptions in his work, placing Scotland's rich cultural heritage at the heart of it. Eoghann’s exhibition will be linked with Refugee Week organised by the Scottish Refugee Council. There will also be a free talk by the artist at 2pm on 10 June 2006 at the RSA Building.
"I chose the destinations for particular reasons and they are reflected in the drawings that I made throughout my trip. Cultural reasons, historical, political; the languages; the old links with the Nordic Countries and the much newer links with the Americas. There are so many reasons. The parallels for example with Faroe and Scotland. It is a fact that we don't know very much about these people, who are near neighbours with a lot in common with ourselves. But they live to the North of us and therefore they are off the political map so to speak. It is interesting too that the Canadian Provinces, especially Newfoundland are depopulating just as the British Provinces are. I did however meet Gaelic speakers there and it was fantastic. There are moves to reinstate Gaelic in the schools. Although there is a strong sense of identity through music the language has suffered decline for many years. Hopefully it can survive and flourish.
It was also vital to my Project, to see the way the New Scotlanders assimilated. The Scots who went were most definitely refugees. Predominately Jacobite, Catholic and Gaelic speaking and removed because of who they were and what they stood for. Beside that I learnt about the persecution of the French Acadians, many of whom were forced to leave and went South where they founded the Cajun Communities; and the First Nation People who still live in Nova Scotia. In the studio on my return I began making the objects. After all the new experiences it was important for me to come to terms with all the miles I had covered, by ferry, car and plane. Using things I had found on the road, mixing materials, the drawn line and collage, they each have a specific reference to places along the way. These small works are vital to my working process, especially when it comes to the paintings. They provide the vehicle for me to formulate ideas, from this themes of language or identity, place or climate start to develop with the material made on location."
Ẹghann MacColl, February 2006
(Excerpts from correspondence with Colin Greenslade, RSA Exhibitions Coordinator)
About the artist
Ẹghann MacColl was born in Inverness and is currently based in Dunlop, Ayrshire. After compl
Web Link: http://www.royalscottishacademy.org/pages/exhibition_frame.asp?id=122
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