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PICTURES: A celebration of local talent at Halkirk exhibition


By David G Scott

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The Industrial Caithness exhibition, a celebration of locality and work, is on at the Ross Institute in Halkirk until July 13.

Opening night of the show at Halkirk. Picture: Ally Mack Photography
Opening night of the show at Halkirk. Picture: Ally Mack Photography

The opening night on Monday, July 1 featured the Wick Young Fiddlers, and speeches by Rising Artist Ava Mackay and contributors Gavin Macqueen, Penny Irvine and Jackie Newton.

Project manager Cally Maxwell said: “School pupils, photographers, musicians and artists have come from throughout Caithness to share sculptures, paintings, photographs, felted figures and pictures.”

Decorated Caithness flagstone from Jane Mather's storytelling event.
Decorated Caithness flagstone from Jane Mather's storytelling event.
Rising Artist Ava Mackay speaking at the opening night. Picture: Ally Mack Photography
Rising Artist Ava Mackay speaking at the opening night. Picture: Ally Mack Photography
Clockwise from top left, oil painting by Jackie Newton; photo of Kenneth McElroy of the Caithness Broch Project by Katie Budge; photograph of Addie Harper Jr by Ally Mack Photography; and photo of Wick Harbour by Gavin Macqueen.
Clockwise from top left, oil painting by Jackie Newton; photo of Kenneth McElroy of the Caithness Broch Project by Katie Budge; photograph of Addie Harper Jr by Ally Mack Photography; and photo of Wick Harbour by Gavin Macqueen.

There are recurring themes – the fishing industry is portrayed by Jackie Newton with her oil paintings; Gavin MacQueen through photography; Meg Telfer who uses painted glass; Lorraine Tait with fabric; and Sandy Lowe Ross who utilises felt tip.

Caroline Swan (digital media and pastel); Eleanor Lee (felted figure); and George Gunn (carved flagstone) show the work of dykers. Meanwhile, James Gardner’s piece in pencil and pastel shows his dreams of being a palaeontologist. Rocks and stones feature in a couple of works, and a storytelling event for children by Jane Mather on Tuesday, July 2 invited the painting of pieces of flagstone.

One of two fiddler figures by Eleanor Lee. Picture: Ally Mack Photography
One of two fiddler figures by Eleanor Lee. Picture: Ally Mack Photography
Top, fabric series by Penny Irvine. Bottom, photos by Gavin Macqueen.
Top, fabric series by Penny Irvine. Bottom, photos by Gavin Macqueen.
Gavin Macqueen at the opening night. Picture: Ally Mack Photography
Gavin Macqueen at the opening night. Picture: Ally Mack Photography

Cally adds: “Caithness is a landscape with objects to be found and made into art and this is shown by Rising Artist Ena Kelly’s sculpture ‘Johnno’.

“Ena has found that the series of art workshops run by Sìdh Chailleann Art through the year have helped her mental health and this is true for so many people. Art-making, as a profession, or a hobby, encourages people to be brave and to express themselves when words don’t do the trick.”

Cally says that supporting people’s mental health is important to her organisation. “By encouraging expression, providing paid artist opportunities and focusing so deliberately on inclusion, Sìdh Chailleann Art wants to support a vibrant, confident and creative community through art workshops, jam sessions and storytelling events.

Work by the Rising Artists of Caithness. Clockwise from top left, Lorraine Tait, Ava Mackay, Ena Kelly and Jaiya Sutherland.
Work by the Rising Artists of Caithness. Clockwise from top left, Lorraine Tait, Ava Mackay, Ena Kelly and Jaiya Sutherland.
Stone Dyker by Eleanor Lee.
Stone Dyker by Eleanor Lee.
Storytelling event with Alex Patience
Storytelling event with Alex Patience

“We need support to do that, and by visiting the exhibition, leaving a comment or having a chat about what the community wants, you can help that.”

The exhibition runs until Saturday, July 13 at the Ross Institute in Halkirk.

See more at Sidh C Art on Facebook and at www.sidhchailleannart.com

This exhibition has been funded by the Halkirk District Benefit Fund administered by Foundation Scotland; the National Decommissioning Agency; and the Highland Council.

Upcoming events include a craft fair on Wednesday (July 10) from 1-4.30pm where local crafters, makers and artists will be sharing their wares; a jam session on Thursday (July 11) from 6-8pm where musicians can bring along their instruments; and a talk on the energy industry by Doreen Leith on Saturday, (July 13) at 11am.


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