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Rising star of Scottish photography is named SMO’s Visual Artist in Residence

Talented Scottish photographer Alex Boyd is Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI’s new Visual Artist in Residence. Alex has won wide-spread acclaim in recent years for his work which has been described as compelling and thought-provoking, with his landscape work having been widely exhibited. Alex is perhaps best known for his series of landscapes, ‘Sonnets’, a series of large format landscapes featuring a lone figure in some of Scotland’s most distinctive and remote locations. ‘Sonnets’ has been exhibited internationally and has even inspired a collection of songs by classical and jazz pianist, Mike Garson.

Commenting on the new appointment, Kath MacLeod, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Arts Development Officer, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be welcoming Alex who is joining the growing number of visual artists whose work responds to Gaelic language, landscape and culture and who have undertaken residencies at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig to really explore this in depth. It is an interesting idea to work as he does in a contemporary way with a very early photographic process in an ever increasingly digital age.”

The Visual Artist joins the Writer, Musician and Gaelic Drama Artist as part of the residency programme at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig which is funded by Creative Scotland’s Creative Futures scheme and is supported by the Royal Scottish Academy. Alex Boyd replaces Mhàiri Killin, the Iona-based artist who recently completed her six-month residency.

Speaking of his new position, Alex Boyd said: “I feel privileged to have the opportunity to be Artist in Residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. Skye is where my photographic career began almost a decade ago, and to be able to return here to develop a new body of work is very important to me. The chance to learn the language of the land I will be working in will give me a new perspective on not only how I view Scotland, but the people who live here. 

“I hope to work with local communities on Skye and the Western Isles, making a pictorial record which engages with the landscape and the people who live amongst it. I will be working with the wet-plate collodion photographic process, an old way of images first invented in the 1850s which requires an ability to work with chemicals, glass, silver and large reserves of patience!

“The residency will hopefully be part of a larger project to document the Gaelic speaking world, primarily the Irish Gaeltachtaí, and the Scottish Gàidhealtachd which I began in May 2012 on a residency in County Mayo in the Republic of Ireland.”

Alex has won several prizes and awards which include: the Dewar Award 2010, a Scottish Art Fund Award, the Toscana Prize, the UK winner of the Accademia Apulia Award 2011, the Royal Scottish Academy Morton Award for Lens Based work in 2011, and he won silver in the Renaissance Art Prize 2010. He was also shortlisted for the EU ‘Imagine’ Photographer of the Year in 2009. Alex is the editor of the Scottish Photography Magazine and his work has been celebrated in two Parliamentary motions. He will be Visual Artist in Residence at SMO for six months.

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