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Exhibition inspired by Inch Kenneth opens at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

An art exhibition inspired by the historic island of Inch Kenneth was opened last week (Thursday 6 December) at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture.

The exhibition features the work of four artists – Anne Devine, David Faithfull, Mhairi Killin and Veronica Slater – who along with curator Alicia Hendrick form the artistic collaboration 6ºWEST, which provides a distinctive cultural voice for contemporary art practice on Mull and Iona, the Highlands and Islands, the UK and internationally.

The artists spent a week together in 2011 on the tiny island which sits off the coast of Mull, and drew on different inspirations, among them the island’s rich history which includes the eponymous Saint Kenneth, a follower of Columba who is said to have founded a monastery on the island, and the eccentric Mitford family who owned the house on the island until the late 1960s.

Mhairi Killin is currently the Visual Artist in Residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, and has emerged over the last 20 years as a distinctive voice in Scottish Contemporary Art. In 2011 she completed the RSA Residency at Taigh Chearsabhagh in North Uist, and her work has been exhibited widely, including as part of the Great Book of Gaelic’s touring exhibition. In 2013, Mhairi will be the visual artist in residence at the Leighton Artists’ Colony, Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada, where she will continue working on themes developed during her time on Skye.

Commenting on the exhibition, Mhairi said: “Working on Inch Kenneth was an exceptional experience for 6ºWEST and I think the work produced reflects this. The prints in the exhibition form part of a larger body of work that was shown at the Edinburgh Art Festival in August and will tour to An Lanntair in February. Showing the prints at Sabhal Mòr at this stage in the residency gives people an introduction to my work with 6ºWEST and to the main themes within my practice.”

As part of her residency Mhairi is holding a special session once a month in her studio at Sabhal Mòr, entitled ‘Studio Conversations’, where people are invited to drop in for a cup of tea and chat, and discuss topics such as the role of the visual arts in Gaelic culture and the role of an artist within Sabhal Mòr and wider Gaelic community. Each session will also have a specific question to consider.

The ‘Inch Kenneth’ exhibition, which features prints from the four artists, will run at SMO until the 30 January in the Atrium at Àrainn Chaluim Chille. The Visual Artist in Residence post is funded by Creative Scotland as part of its Creative Futures programme.

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