Japanese artist Takeshi Shikama was awarded the first Jon Schueler Scholarship in 2013, a major new visual arts residency, at Scotland’s National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture, Sabhal Mor Ostaig UHI.
The renowned artist/photographer was selected after huge national and international interest with well over 200 applications from all around the world.
An exhibition by Takeshi was held at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig at the end of his residency and had been based at Skye Gaelic college for the summer months through the residency programme.
The exhibition of platinum palladian prints on hand-made Gampi paper is the culmination of work from the 3-month residency at SMO which has had a profound effect on the way that Takeshi works. The exhibition ran until November and was held at Àrainn Chaluim Chille at SMO. This exhibition followed on from an earlier collection of pictures which Takeshi showcased at Sabhal Mòr, which were taken during the artist’s time on the Japanese island of Hokkaido and which were entitled, ‘Silent respiration of Forests’.
According to Takeshi, “Since coming to Skye I have been fascinated with the sky, especially the dramatic cloudscapes. It is a completely new experience for me to photograph in a landscape where the winds vary so much from day to day. This has had a huge influence on my work. I started to make my prints using the actual light, outside, rather than a chemical light in the studio which until now had been my usual practice. I am so grateful to be given this opportunity of discovery, that has opened my eyes to a new way of looking. I will treasure this experience. It will remain with me and influence my work for the rest of my life.”
Having experienced the music and language of the Gael at first hand and talking of the connections between Skye and Hokkaido, Takeshi added, “I expected that I might see some similarities in the landscape of the two far apart lands. However, it was beyond my imagination that they also bear a great similarity in their history and culture.”
It has been a great honour to host Takeshi here at SMO as the first recipient of the Jon Schueler Scholarship. His residency has engaged with many people from other artists, students, visitors and members of the local community here, to a wider audience such as those who packed into a recent talk given by Takeshi at Edinburgh University’s New Media Centre. The Scholarship is a unique international partnership between Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language, Culture and the Arts (Scotland) and the Jon Schueler Charitable Trust. It has been a fascinating exchange of artistic and cultural ideas.
The Scholarship was 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.