SPOTLIGHT ON Visual Art in the Highlands
Inverness Old Town Art
Originally created to enable artists to assist with the regeneration of the city’s Old Town in 2006, Inverness Old Town Art (IOTA) is an arts organisation focused on the creation of engaging public art and bringing contemporary art to the Highlands of Scotland.
Beginning with Imagining the Centre in September 2006, IOTA has spearheaded the development of numerous high profile projects including: the Three Virtues public art installation; a series of commissions to redesign the entrances to Inverness’s Victorian Market; the Windows on the City project; and most recently, a series of events taking place in Inverness’s refurbished multi-story car park.
The Sublime Programme - which saw the roof of the car park transformed into an open air cinema - ran for three days in September and presented a packed programme of films by international and local artists – including a series of Gaelic shorts and the world premiere of locally shot film Trail of Tears.
Cathedral, a major installation by visual artist Mike Inglis, was unveiled in March this year, transforming a 65m long and 5m high wall in Inverness city centre into a giant narrative exploring Scottish belief systems and Highland myths. The work was commissioned by IOTA and Highland Council and took almost a year to complete.
The Highland Institute for Contemporary Art (HICA) is an artist-run space located in the picturesque hills surrounding Loch Ness on the outskirts of Inverness. The gallery aims to provide a platform for internationally renowned contemporary art and is dedicated to exploring the origin and development of Concrete Art.
HICA’s latest project The Museum of Loss and Renewal by Tracy Mackenna and Edwin Janssen, is a collaboration with Highland Hospice and focuses on the interrelationships between death, memory, material, culture and recycling.
By collecting items from The Hospice’s shops such as clothes, music, videos, books and bric-a-brac as part of a process of re-cycling, they aim to question the value of ‘things’, and how these determine and reflect identities and histories.
The Museum of Loss and Renewal will take the form of two exhibitions: Loss Becomes Object at HICA from 24 Sept – 30 Oct 2011, and a second exhibition, in November 2011, at the Visual Research Centre in Dundee.
HICA’s 2011 programme has also included an exhibition by American minimalist painter and conceptual artist Richard Roth and Grow Together - an exploration of Concrete Poetry from Brazil and Scotland. The exhibition featured the work of the Scottish poets Edwin Morgan and Iain Hamilton Finlay as well as Brazilian artists Augusto de Campos and Geraldo de Barros.
Timespan was founded in 1986 with the aim of providing the local community and visitors to its home in the North East Highlands with a valuable insight into the history of Helmsdale and the surrounding area. Since then it has developed from a small local heritage centre into an award winning museum and contemporary art gallery.
One of their long term projects is the development of the Strath of Kildonan Clearances Trail - a project that will come to a head in 2013 when the area will see an influx of people to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Kildonan Clearances. The centre also runs a genealogy research service to allow members of the public to trace their highland ancestors.
2011 has seen them present a diverse range of exhibitions including: Teenage Kicks by urban artists DUFI; a celebration of the work of pioneering American artist Ed Ruscha; Mapping the Body by textile artist Jeanette Sendler; a collection of Alexander Hamilton’s photograms; and most recently, former artist in residence Graham Fagen presented a new HD video work alongside seven short films made in collaboration with the local community.
Unsettling Provenance, a new exhibition by current artist in residence Corin Sworn, runs from 7 October – 20 December and includes a new HD video work, as well as a collection of sculptures, drawings and photographs. The exhibition stems from an extended period of research involving the local community, historical objects and the area's rich history.
IOTA has received investment from Creative Scotland through money given to the Highland Council as part of their ongoing public art developments in the region.
HICA and Timespan have both received investment from Creative Scotland to develop their programmes.
Share This Page
(Main image: Cathedral © Mike Inglis 2011)