Alasdair Gray - in British Art Show here in Nottingham. Major figure in Scotland. Art as personal at site of production: Remarking on how odd it is to be 75, Gray adds: I disapprove of Time. When working fully, productively and without interruption we live in a continual present” Art as being alive.
Many thanks for invite Present Air Iomlaid - pronounced Air im-litch Means on Exchange - a visual arts project led by The Fruitmarket gallery over the past 18 months.
The project worked with children from two schools - one from Skye and one from
And Edinburgh. This is lead artist Julie Brook, who first came to us in Feb 2009. Julie is the parent of four children at Bun sgoil Shleite and co-ordinates Lasair Ealain, who are a committee of children who organise art projects within the school. Lasair Ealain approached The Fruitmarket Gallery in March 2008 requesting assistance in setting up an exchange project. In fact this is children on the exchange, and as in the last image, here you’ll see the children working in their sketchbooks
The Creative team Lead artist: Julie Brook, working in the desert in Libya
And in the North east of Scotland
Lewis-based artist Sandra Kennedy
Harris-born artist Mary Morrison, (Based in the Borders)
And recent graduate from Edinburgh College of Art, Morag Macdonald, who is from North Uist.
That is to go out in their local environment and draw and paint - the artists gave them sustained tutition over the summer and autumn term last year - here they are in skye painting in the Cuillin
And by the Canal in Edinbrugh
At Tarkscavaig on Skye
And by the castle in Edinburgh. Over the course of fifteen weeks the children developed their technical skills: learning how to handle materials, charcoal, paint, learning about colour, form and composition and gaining confidence
Each afternoon, they returned to the school, where they transcribed their work up to A1 size.
Each day was finished with a small plenary discussion. Julie refers to the process of learning to paint as “Getting fit” - you need regular practice.
Having developed their skills, we set out the next challenge - to take what they had learnt in one environment, to investigate a new environment - both schools went on a weeks exchange. This was the first day on Skye in Tarkscavaig - gale
And the first day in Edinburgh - pouring rain. The effect of the environmental condition on the production of the artwork.
Skye girl used to drawing mountains, suddenly to be pitched into drawing structures - here the rooves of waverley station.
The exchanges were really the pivot on which the project turned. You will all know the importance of trips for school pupils - a massive educational step in itself - Having developed a way of working, a pattern to the day, it helped to focus and settle the children - to ground them. We were aware this was mirrored in their drawings and found that both sets of pupils raised their game so to speak on the exchanges. There was a challenge and they really wanted to do well. Having undertaken the exchanges and returned to their homes, we asked the pupils to review their work, their week away and their experience - and also asked a poet to come in at this stage and assist the children in reflecting on their experience.
The children then worked large scale pictures of their “home’ and “away” environment.
And in Skye
Edinburgh childrens’ version of Skye. The difference of a place and a visit to a place.
All the work in the large charcoal drawings came from direct observation.
We then asked them to return to their sketchbooks and consider what might be moving in their pictures, and how using their drawing and painting skills might they represent this in short animations.
The role of Gaelic within the project. Both instrumental and incidental. Normalization and some of the finding of the research that was commisioned.
The role of language within the project
Air Iomlaid engage presentation1
Air Iomlaid (On Exchange)
Johnny Gailey, The Fruitmarket Gallery
• Two schools - Tollcross primary school, Edinburgh and Bun-
sgoil Shlèite, Skye
• 64 core pupils (P4 - P7 in Sleat, P6/P7 in Tollcross) with
additional groups in each school
• Two teams of artists, with a lead artist, Julie Brook,
spanning both sites
• The pupils were tasked to investigate their physical,
linguistic and virtual environments