EMPIRE – A SSA members’ exhibition curated by Gayle Nelson PSSA and Alan Bond SSA
Preview: Saturday 25 July, 2-4pm
Exhibition: Saturday 25 July – Saturday 29 August 2015
Considered Cargo Thursday 13 August 7-9pm
Artists’ Talk, Saturday 29 August 2-4pm
Wall Projects II,
The Old Ropeworks, 13 Bents Road, Montrose, DD10 8QA
Thursday (late opening): 12 noon – 6pm. Friday, Saturday & Sunday: 12 noon – 4pm
The gallery is based in the former premises of the Montrose Rope & Sail Co., a long-standing family business which still operates elsewhere in the area. The building’s spaces are redolent of its manufacturing past and of a period of international trade, when consumer goods were most often marked with the tag ‘Empire Made’.
SSA Members were asked to propose existing works or submit proposals for new works on the theme of ‘EMPIRE’. 20 SSA Members were selected and encouraged to explore the idea of EMPIRE in its broadest sense, and have made historical and contemporary references to the subject. The exhibition represents both big ideas and draws attention to small details. It reflects contrasting views on the benefits and disadvantages of EMPIRE and considers small scale personal empires as well as geo/political dominance and the practices of global commercial enterprise.
Wall Projects was established by Kim Canale eight years ago and the space consists of two modernised gallery areas on an upper level and a raw, post-industrial space on the ground floor, containing vestiges of its former use as a rope manufacturing enterprise.
The exhibition includes works by the following artists:
Special event with James Robertson and Carolyn Scott
Thursday 13th August, 6.00pm onwards for 7pm start. Ends 9pm.
Acclaimed writer James Robertson will read from his award-winning novel Joseph Knight, and talk about the true story on which it is based, of a slave, brought from Jamaica, who won a long battle for his freedom in the Scottish courts in 1778. James’s book was itself one of the inspirations for Carolyn Scott’s EMPIRE project, CONSIDERED CARGO, a site-specific sound installation focusing on the engagement of North East Scotland, and in particular Montrose, with the historic slave trade. An open discussion will follow the event.
‘Until I stumbled across the Joseph Knight story, more or less by accident 15 years ago, I was unaware of the substantial role played by Scots in the slave trade and in owning and running slave plantations in North America and the Caribbean. Historians of slavery knew about it, but it simply did not feature as part of the history of Scotland: it was a hidden or forgotten aspect of our past. That is changing slowly, as Carolyn’s exhibition demonstrates, but the full extent to which individual Scots and indeed whole communities – cities, towns, villages and estates the length and breadth of the country – prospered on the back of slave labour is still not widely understood. The source of much of the wealth of 18th-century Scotland was in sugar, rum, tobacco and other products grown, harvested and processed by African slaves in often appalling conditions of servitude. It is a dark history, but also one shot through with brighter shades of hope, courage, moral outrage and – eventually – a determined campaign to bring slavery to an end. We should acknowledge this past if only to remind ourselves that progress is gradual, and that change for the better seldom comes without a struggle.’
Images from the Considered Cargo event taken by John St. Clair and Andy Sim.
Come along and hear some of the artists talk about their artworks which were inspired by the theme of ’empire’ on the final day – Saturday 29 August 2015, 2-4pm.
EMPIRE PRIVATE VIEW
Images from the Private View taken by Julia Douglas.