Exhibition with a difference for Inverness

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery and "Random Acts of Writing" (RAW) magazine present an art exhibition with a difference during November.
Entitled "Reflections", the exhibition will feature nine portraits of Highland women paired with nine specially-commissioned pieces of writing written by contemporary female authors from Scotland.

Originally, Inverness Museum and Art Gallery had planned a simple showing of pictures which were usually hidden away in their storeroom, with the theme of 'Highland Women' - but they soon discovered they had a problem as many of the female subjects were unidentifiable.

Museum Learning and Access Officer Katey Boal said: “In some cases, this was because the pictures had never come with full identification.  We can often discover what their husbands or brothers did but we know very little about the women themselves. We came up with an innovative solution to the problem of how to label the pictures when we got in touch with the local literary magazine, "Random Acts of Writing" (RAW).  The result is a fascinating exhibition which we have called “Reflections” which combines the words of contemporary Highland writers with the portraits of Highland ladies.”

Set up three years ago and run by a small but enthusiastic team of two young writers, a designer and a salesperson, RAW's aim is to promote new writers from the north of Scotland. It had recently published a series of super-short stories, all coming in at under 100 words, and it was these that caught the attention of Inverness Museum's staff.

RAW's editor, Jennifer Thomson, was asked to commission a series of short pieces by female Highland writers, each piece specifically linked to one of the paintings in the exhibition. The result is an exhibition displaying original writing by contemporary Highland writers alongside the portraits of the Highland women. Accompanying the exhibition is a special edition of RAW magazine, featuring colour reproductions of each painting and the full text of each story or poem.

A wide variety of writers are taking part, including well-known names such as Katharine Stewart (author of "A Croft in the Hills") and Anne Macleod (author of "The Dark Ship"), and new writers supported by RAW magazine, such as Morag Henderson. A slightly different perspective is provided by songwriter Fiona Mackenzie ("Elevate").

Editor of RAW and co-organiser of the exhibition Jennifer Thomson said: "This has been a fascinating and challenging project and I am really excited by the quality of writing and the calibre of the writers involved. Not only have they produced some original work but their research has also uncovered valuable background information about the pictures for Inverness Museum. For example, we include in our magazine the story of Alexander Munro, a forgotten genius from Inverness, as well as the incredible story of Maria, whose painting is featured in the exhibition.”

The exhibition runs at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery from 1st-26th November, and the accompanying magazine is available to buy at the museum, as well as through its usual outlets, and via its website, www.randomactsofwriting.co.uk.

29 Oct 2008