The major exhibition in the new museum at Lews Castle opened last night as part of the low-key development of public involvement in the project.
Using the Special Exhibition gallery – rather than the main galleries which remain closed to the public – the exhibition by Ian Stephen and Christine Morrison is entitled ‘grammar of wavelength…responses to journeying: land and sea. It is open until 30 June, Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 4pm with free admission.
It is almost 11 years since an exhibition curated by Ian Stephen – writer, poet, sailor, and storyteller – marked the opening of the new An Lanntair Art Centre.
Around 50 people attended the event – which was supported by staff from An Lanntair – and was held mostly in the foyer of the new museum building to the rear of the restored Castle building. A number of public events have been held in the education just off the central courtyard but this is the first in the main building.
Music during the event was provided by Peter Urpeth on the keyboard and Gary Carr on the double bass.
The exhibition was introduced by the new heritage manager, Nick Smith, who joined the staff from Strawberry Hill House in London
described as Horace Walpole’s Gothic castle. He spoke of his gratitude to the staff of An Lanntair for working with the museum on this event, and said that similar co-operative working would form part of the future as well.
Ian Stephen explained that the Stephen | Morrison credited as artist for the exhibition was the collaborative artistic entity which he and Christine Morrison operated under when they were working together.
The exhibition is inspired by journeys they have made together – in the sloop El Vigo; across Canada by train; and to Tasmania. It is also the result of work as a Reader in Residence with Western Isles Libraries; a month-long residency in Lerwick supported by Shetland Arts; participation in the Commonwealth Poets United project built around the 2012 Glasgow Games; and taking part in the Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart, Tasmania.
The event also included promotion of Maritime – Ian Stephen’s latest collection of poems published by Saraband of Glasgow – which includes poems written over a period of 30 years. Ian read a number of the poems as part of the museum event.