Two of Scotland’s most prestigious art societies, Society of Scottish Artists (SSA) and Visual Arts Scotland (VAS), hold an annual exhibition in Scotland’s capital, in the grand Royal Scottish Academy building managed by the National Galleries of Scotland. This year, SSA and VAS joined forces to present ‘an ambitious collaborative exhibition celebrating the best in contemporary and applied art’ in OPEN 2018.
For this exhibition we offered a brand new award for a funded one month residency here at Studio Faire. We viewed the digital entries together online and agreed immediately and unanimously on the work we felt best merited this award. Julia then visited Edinburgh in January to see the work in the flesh and meet the selected artist.
Sea Tangle by Sarah Gittins.
Sarah Gittins is a visual artist working across a variety of media, with a particular focus on drawing and printmaking. Sea Tangle was developed by Sarah Gittins during a research residency with An Talla Solais in Ullapool, Scotland, in April 2017, where her research focused on investigating how low-impact fishing practices are, or will be, affected by climate change. This artwork aims to ‘weave together some of the interconnecting threads of working lives, environmental change and life sustained by the sea’.
Through a little research of our own, we discovered that, in addition to an interest in climate change, Sarah was also exploring land use and food sustainability, and how she can enable engagement, conversation and action for change through image-making and, in some cases, performance.
The South West of France is famed for it’s farm-to-table approach to eating; with weekly farmer’s markets selling locally produced fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese and wine. As Sarah has an interest in raising awareness of where food comes from (for example, Sarah is currently collaborating with artist Jonathan Baxter on Dundee Urban Orchard (DUO) a public art and horticulture project reimagining Dundee as an ‘orchard city’), we wondered if she might be interested in finding out more about the orchards of Gascony. We absolutely love seeing people at the market who just specialise in one thing, tomatoes, mushrooms, strawberries, melons … it really depends on the season what you will find.
Though we would be delighted if Sarah found inspiration for new work in this rural part of France where growing and eating locally produced food is the way of life. But there are no obligations for her residency. We are confident that simply embracing this slow pace of life in a warm climate will allow her time to think, play and develop her work.
We are now making plans with Sarah for her visit and can’t wait to see what will materialize out of her residency. Looking forward to telling you more about Sarah Gittins and her work when we welcome her to Studio Faire later this year.
All images are details of ‘Sea Tangle’ by Sarah Gittins, which you can see in Open 2018: SSA & VAS Together, at the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, Scotland until 8 March 2018.