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Innovative film and performance artist this year’s recipient of the John Schueler Scholarship at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

Oliver Mezger had been named as this year’s John Schueler artist in residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture. Oliver is the first Scottish-based artist to have been awarded the scholarship and is known for his work in film and other media where he explores the idea of ‘parallel’ relationships. The artist has staged several exhibitions and screenings since he graduated from Glasgow School of Art with a Masters in Fine Art in 2006.

Kath MacLeod, Arts Development Officer at SMO said:  “Oliver Mezger, the first Scottish-based recipient of the scholarship, was selected from a world-wide field of 406 artists who applied. The residency continues to grow in reputation and appeal to artists who recognise the draw of the Gàidhealtachd in a contemporary global context, and the unique opportunity to interact with the community, language, landscape and culture as well as the outstanding facilities offered to artists here at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.”

Commenting on his new residency at SMO, Oliver said: “I’m delighted to be given this opportunity. It’ll be great to spend time considering the roots of Scottish Gaelic poetry and piping with the students and researchers of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. In trying to make a contemporary interpretation of pibroch or Ceòl Mòr, all the questions that I will bring to Sleat – as a film-maker and performance artist – relate to how I might encapsulate, visually, the closeness but difference we feel in our digital age towards these older forms of expression.”

Oliver is a relatively young artist but whose reputation is growing steadily, and he recently won the RSA Morton Award 2013/14, for artists working in a lens-based media in Scotland which enabled him to film and print the 16mm work, ‘Air Sgàth- For the sake of Margaret Tait’, the culmination of two years’ work, researching and responding to the 1966 film ‘Caora Mòr – The Big Sheep’.

The John Schueler residency is offered each year to a different artist and began in 2013 with Japanese artist Takeshi Shikama, followed by German sound-artist  Helmut Lemke in 2014. The scholarship is a unique international partnership between Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI and the Jon Schueler Charitable Trust, with support from the Royal Scottish Academy and complements the Artists’ Residency Programme at SMO, supported by Creative Scotland, for Gaelic writers,  musicians, visual artists and Gaelic drama. The scholarship programme will run until 2016. It has been established to celebrate and remember the life, work and artistic influence of internationally renowned artist and abstract expressionist painter, Jon Schueler (1916-1992), and in recognition of his very special relationship with the landscape and environment of the Sound of Sleat.

A symposium and exhibition celebrating the life and work of Schueler will be held on 27-29th May 2016 at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, in the centenary of  Schueler’s birth.

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