Bridges Project IX /Mosty IX International Exchange
President Christopher Wood, Vice President Louise Ritchie and Council members Nan Mulder and David Faithfull were invited to represent the SSA at the opening of this wonderful exchange initiative in Piestany, Slovakia. We successfully installed two exhibitions at the Gallery Fontana and the Cultural Centre. The exhibitions were collaborations between 13 Slovak artists and the 13 SSA Council Members. It was an interesting experience for us to arrange and hang 2 separate shows with another group of artists and was definitely a much quicker process than we are used to. The process also highlighted our SSA attention to detail and determination to make the work look as best it could, which as most of the work was sent out in advance, framed, arranged and hung in 1 day, was quite a challenge. We thoroughly enjoyed working with our fellow Slovak artists Igor Benca, Marian Komacek and Karol Felix and were well guided and supported by our wonderful event organiser Zora Petrasova.
The Bridges Project/Mosty/ was set up to foster cultural contacts and to create dialogues with artists in other countries through exhibition events and artist exchanges. The project has been running since 2003 working with a different country each year. The Slovak artists are then invited in a reciprocal exchange with that country the following year. The project was introduced to the SSA Council very generously by Nan Mulder and was a wonderful opportunity to meet other artists and raise the SSA profile within a European context. The exhibitions formed part of the 20th Official Opening of the Spa Season in Piestany and received extensive press attention in the newspapers and television with President Christopher Wood`s rousing interview! We were formally presented to the opening night crowd at Gallery Fontana and were introduced to Chargé d'affaires to Slovakia Dominic Schroeder, Remo Cicutto, Mayor of Piestany and many Cultural and Foreign Ambassadors who were also in attendance. Nan Mulder was invited to give a speech to the 150 strong VIP guests and spent many hours perfecting her Slovak introduction and for that we congratulate her! The evening was a resounding success and the 3 kilts, whisky and 'Wee Jimmy hat' went down a treat! The second exhibition at the Piestany Cultural Centre opened the following day at the official blessing of the Spa Season by the President of Slovakia and was accompanied by a VIP reception at which we were also guests.
This SSA exchange was funded in part by the 4 invited artists but by far in the main by our Slovak colleagues. During this exchange we were treated most graciously by our host artists and we cannot thank them enough for their warm welcome from the moment we arrived to our early morning surprise last visit before we left. We were privileged to visit their homes and studios as well as being fed, watered and watered again much to our mutual delight!
The power and drive behind this project comes from Zora Petrasova without which none of it would happen and once again we cannot thank her enough for her generosity of spirit and vision. Zora organised our exhilarating itinerary as well as spending time getting to know us and discussing how Piestany and SSA can further build on this relationship. We look forward to working with Zora and our new Slovak friends from now on and until 2013 when we will have the opportunity to host them in Scotland and to exhibit their internationally renowned work as part of SSA 2013. This will be an opportunity to showcase the SSA to be the unique organisation it truly is and we hope you will join us in providing them with a warm Scottish welcome.
Louise Ritchie Vice President June 2011
Link to Slovakian news page which includes more images of the Opening of the exhibition
Link to Slovakian media page which includes the television report on the event
Link to more images on the Facebook page of the British Embassy, Bratislava.