When asked to produce an installation for the travelling Gallery’s 40th anniversary show that examined and explored the organisation’s values, I immediately had to examine my own as an artist. This exploratory process has required that I question as many of those values as those that I endorse. The resultant series of structures explore the complex layers unearthed during the discussion and investigations into what the Travelling Gallery provides for the remote communities it serve. It also made me question how art is currently valued and indeed how it is supported within our cultural framework.
Settlement then, a series of site specific structures created for the City Art Centre, the contents of which examine my relationship with the art world in general, the Travelling Gallery, what it stands for and indeed questions arts relevance to the world which it navigates. I was interested in using SETTLEMENT to examine ideas that the media often use to “define” social structures especially those surrounding the Calais “jungle” communities which built up around 2015 when the migrant crisis was at its peak.
THE WINDMILL which powers the SETTLEMENT: Self-actualization explored in the combined found text fragments drawn from Buddha, contemporary music and my own imaginings and correspondences.
BASIC NEEDS SHACK The basic needs approach is one of the major approaches to the measurement of absolute poverty in developing countries. The shack’s products are the urgently needed food items for my local foodbank in Dunfermline as published on their website currently. These foodstuffs were donated at the end of the show. More information on your local foodbanks and UK poverty can be found at https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/
FURTHER SHELTER acts as an archive of the Travelling Gallery, its workshops and its myriad journeys. It also questions the romantic notion of the artists starving in the garret, an outmoded idea and explores instead artist as critical thinker and socially active participant.
THE DANCING CIRCLE unites the community of shacks and shelters. It is a collective meeting area where a series of talks and performances took place over the show’s duration. The space was activated by this series of discussions that further explore the value of art and place-making, accessibility and diversity of contemporary art in Scotland.
FRAME AND FRAGMENT refer to the construction and subsequent destruction of these temporary, often illegal, settlements. They also explore the tensions that exist between artists and galleries.