Photo of piece of artwork from An Leabhar Mòr

Artwork from An Leabhar Mòr, courtesy of
Pròiseact nan Ealan

Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle, the Columba Centre, is currently participating in an unprecedented marriage of Gaelic language, music, art and technology as one of the eight gallery spaces between the Western Isles and the south west of Ireland chosen to simultaneously host the exhibition of Leabhar Mòr na Gàidhlig (The Great Book of Gaelic).

The Leabhar Mòr project is centred on 100 specially commissioned artworks based on 100 Scottish and Irish Gaelic poems dating from the 6th to the 21st centuries. The poems are all personal favourites selected by Irish and Scottish writers including Seumus Heaney and Hamish Henderson. The artists worked with a team of calligraphers to create a stunning range of contemporary art works in a wide variety of media on handmade paper.

Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle has on display until the end of July five original pieces from the exhibition by artists including Anna Davis, Ian McCulloch and Andrew Folan; and the writings of poets Duncan Livingstone, William Livingstone, George Campbell Hay and Michael Davitt. The other island-based galleries taking part with the Columba Centre in this unique staging of the exhibition are on Lewis, North Uist, the Isle of Skye, the Aran Islands and Rathlin. In addition, on Saturday 10th July the whole exhibition was opened simultaneously across all the galleries and broadcast through the internet, thereby allowing each gallery visitor to view other elements of the exhibition as dispersed throughout Ireland and Scotland.

Dòmhnall Angaidh MacLennan, Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle Centre Manager said:
"It is a great thrill for Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle to be literally at the centre of such an exciting event focussing on an exhibition of astounding quality. This represents the exciting realisation of the vision and hard work of organisers and sponsors who brought the Leabhar Mòr into being by demonstrating how creative thinking and new technology can be successfully used to link our islands, which are often perceived as remote, in promoting the richness and beauty of the Gaelic language which bonds us. I would urge young and old alike on Islay to come and see the artworks and relax in the summer Gaelic café operating here on weekdays from 10.00am until 3.30pm".

The Leabhar Mòr exhibition will tour internationally to Ireland, the USA, Canada and Europe for six years before the individual artworks are removed from their frames and brought together to form a "book". The book will then go on permanent display and is currently shortlisted for the art collection to be housed in the new Scottish Parliament building.