As the first phase of the Arts in Moray’s work came to an end, the artists of the AIM collective came together at the end of September to present a showcase of their work and the process behind it.
We asked Laura Johnston-Scott, AIM Collective Co-ordinator, to reflect on how it went.
This showcase, located in the gallery space at Moray School of Art in Elgin, was open to the public from Tuesday 20th September to Friday 23rd September. It featured work from the artists in residence: Mary Bourne, Lynda Buchan, Fleur Darkin, Salma Faraji, Mike Inglis, Caroline Inckle, Simone Kenyon, Lise Olsen and Gail Sneddon.
The centre of the showcase featured three 6 minute films exploring three key themes: artist approach & development, community interaction and residency outcomes. This allowed us to give context to the multi-layered richness of the collective; the work of each artist was displayed on the walls around the gallery space.
The showcase was the first time the entire collective, and the public, were able to experience in person the breadth and depth of work that had been happening across Moray over the last 12 to 18 months.
A beautiful aspect of the showcase was the variety of the physical products on show – from sharing of intimate and vulnerable journals written during the artists residency, to sounds and audio maps, physical sculptures, and photography, as well as outstanding contributions of work by community groups.
It was a celebration of all different processes, without a distinction or hierarchy among the work itself. Whether it was an insight into an artist’s process, or a product, more conceptual work or something more concrete, or whether this was made by the artist or community participants. Nothing stood out for the wrong reasons, and everything shone for the right ones.
A lovely moment I experienced was around the work showcased by Ross McShane | portraits of diversity | elevate voices, through Mike Inglis’s residency with Out of the Darkness Theatre Company.
I got to meet Ross’s mother whilst invigilating, and the pride on her face made this all feel extremely valuable and was a reminder of why we need to give space to celebrate the talent and creativity hiding among our community.
This was reinforced by the below quote shared on Facebook from the theatre company itself:
“We are so proud of Ross McShane who is a member of our ODTC Multi-Arts and Technical group. This week Ross’s hand-drawn portraits of all our staff and members were featured at the Arts in Moray collective showcase at UHI Moray. We spent this morning at this fantastic exhibition which takes a closer look at different local artists’ processes and a selection of their work, and gained insight into their engagement with local communities in Moray.
Ross is 28 and has been attending ODTC for the last 8 years since completing his studies with UHI Moray. Ross has been drawing for as long as he can remember and has created many pieces of art which have been used in the majority of our theatre productions. Ross states Art is his superpower :)”
Out of the Darkness Theatre Company also told us:
“During the process, we had the pleasure of working with resident artist Mike Inglis over the last year. Mike spent a lot of time in Moray exploring connections, relationships and personal stories within often overlooked community groups and documenting Moray outsider art practices. We enjoyed having Mike work with us during his residency and hope we can work with him again”.
The next phase of the collective will feature some of the artists from phase one continuing their work, while others will conclude their projects. There will also be new artists undertaking entirely new creative endeavours, and much of the work will take place in areas of Moray that were not explored in the first year.
I am looking forward to seeing what AIM Phase 2 brings.