I was only a teenager, but the experience cemented the power of community, and I learned the comfort of being supported and lifted by strangers. I appreciate it now in this Island community too. There is a general acceptance, sometimes wariness, but usually caring and supportiveness, that is commonplace across small communities and here is no exception.
I am interested to how the role of the local community translates and influences my creative practice. Community Art as an art movement snuck past me during my years of study. Defined as an artistic activity that is based in a community setting, and characterised by interaction or dialogue with the community. I find myself drawn to the possibilities of co-creation and facilitation in the creative process.
Taking part in the Scotland-wide Culture Collective project has provided the opportunity to work with people in a way that is inclusive and brings a creative element, even if only for a short while, to the day for those taking part.
My Community Art project is titled Collective Memory. I bring images from Photographer TB Macaulay’s Archive out into the community to inspire and trigger stories and memories. TB Macaulay was a prolific photographer working from the 1910s through to the 1970s. He worked from his darkroom above a shop until his sight began to fail, at which point, he began painting in oils in an impressionist style. The archive is largely unpublished and contains a mix of day-to-day life in the Islands, newsworthy events, and records of his travels throughout Europe. Work is underway for the archive of photos to be made available publicly, but in the meantime, this project helps to share it with the community.
Through conversations with individuals and groups, the aim is to use the photos to stimulate memories and recall the senses evoked from the images such as sound and smell. The community’s participation in the process is captured in audio and emerging ideas will be incorporated into new works.