Grounded explored by the children of Ntaria

arts education

The first colour swatches created by Leverhulme School, Isle of Harris

We are very excited that the Year 8 children of Ntaria school (Northern Territory, Australia) have joined in the Colour of Language arts educational project that came out of Grounded’s showing at An Lanntair in Stornoway, Scotland.

The children have looked at Western Arrarnta trees, shrubs, flowers and earth and painted the colours that they saw and experienced, and added the Western Arrarnta words. Their work will be exhibited alongside Leverhulme Memorial Gaelic School (Isle of Harris, Scotland) and Lional Gaelic School (Isle of Lewis, Scotland), and other schools that join in along the course of the project. I look forward to soon being able to post their work here.

If you are connected to a Gaelic school or Australian Aboriginal school, and you are interested in joining, please do contact me via this blog.

Thank you also to Greg who recorded the BBC Radio Scotland Voices of the Commonwealth interview we did in Glasgow during the Grounded exhibition at Festival 2014. The radio interview, which explores some of the concepts behind Grounded, is now available for listening to here.

For those new to the blog, the Grounded exhibition, a commission by Glasgow Life for Festival 2014 XX Commonwealth Games, has also shown since at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, as a partner event at Hebtember Festival.

The Grounded residency diary entries and photographs begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. The book that accompanied the exhibition can be found at Exhibition explanatory book

You can also link to information about the exhibition at these links: Introductory panel in English and Introductory panel in Gaelic.

Three audiovisuals that were part of Grounded, and the promotional audiovisual, can be watched here

Educational workshops run at An Lanntair Gallery in conjunction with Grounded can be viewed here and here.

Joe’s educational video of me talking about the exhibition can be viewed here.

The introductory page for the blog can be found here. Feedback on the Glasgow Festival 2014, XX Commonwealth Games exhibition can be linked to here. Photos of the Glasgow opening event are here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be read at Jim Gilchrist’s review or linked to here. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here. A review by Dr Kate Robinson can be found here. And you can listen to a cut down recording of “In Conversation: Connecting through Culture” at this Vimeo link. (16 mins.) (One of our afternoon events at Glasgow Festival 2014 showing). Or listen to some music from one of our Glasgow afternoon events here.

My artist biography can be linked to here and here and my personal website is here

Some other sites that link to Grounded can be found here

Funder acknowledgements can be viewed here

More posts coming soon from Australia where the exhibition will start its tour in 2015

The Colour of Language

arts education

Swatches from Leverhulme School in Harris

arts education

As part of An Lanntair arts education around the Grounded exhibition, Joe is going into the schools and asking the children to look closely at their environment and choose a particular colour. The associated word is written in Gaelic and English. The same thing is happening in Australian schools with Australian Aboriginal languages. In the end, the schools responses will be mixed as a giant wall of swatches displayed at an Lanntair Gallery and distributed to the schools.

The video of our other Saturday Art club workshop can also be viewed here.

For those new to the blog, the Grounded exhibition is now open at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, from 13 September to 11 October, a partner event at Hebtember Festival.

The Grounded residency diary entries and photographs begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. The book that accompanied the exhibition can be found at Exhibition explanatory book

Joe’s video of me talking about the exhibition can be viewed here.

You can also link to information about the exhibition at these links: Introductory panel in English and Introductory panel in Gaelic.

Three audiovisuals that were part of Grounded, and the promotional audiovisual, can be watched here

The introductory page for the blog can be found here. Feedback on the Glasgow Festival 2014, XX Commonwealth Games exhibition can be linked to here. Photos of the Glasgow opening event are here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be linked to here. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here. A BBC Radio Scotland interview can be found here. A review by Dr Kate Robinson can be found here. And you can listen to a cut down recording of “In Conversation: Connecting through Culture” at this Vimeo link. (16 mins.) (One of our afternoon events at Glasgow Festival 2014 showing). Or listen to some music from one of our Glasgow afternoon events here. Some other online sites that link to Grounded can be found here.

My artist biography can be linked to here and here and my personal website is here

Saturday Art Club with Grounded

Working in collaboration with Joe Mahoney, this video shows the children at an Lanntair during their Saturday Art Club Session. The workshops were linked to the Grounded exhibition and encouraged the children to think about the environment that they live in. The thought about colours and landscape and each produced a diorama of their perfect land. The dioramas were linked by portals and a ‘fly by’ of a video camera captured their unique vision. The video can also be viewed here.

For those new to the blog, the Grounded exhibition is now open at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, from 13 September to 11 October, a partner event at Hebtember Festival.

The Grounded residency diary entries and photographs begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. The book that accompanied the exhibition can be found at Exhibition explanatory book

Joe’s video of me talking about the exhibition can be viewed here.

You can also link to information about the exhibition at these links: Introductory panel in English and Introductory panel in Gaelic.

Three audiovisuals that were part of Grounded, and the promotional audiovisual, can be watched here

The introductory page for the blog can be found here. Feedback on the Glasgow Festival 2014, XX Commonwealth Games exhibition can be linked to here. Photos of the Glasgow opening event are here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be linked to here. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here. A BBC Radio Scotland interview can be found here. A review by Dr Kate Robinson can be found here. And you can listen to a cut down recording of “In Conversation: Connecting through Culture” at this Vimeo link. (16 mins.) (One of our afternoon events at Glasgow Festival 2014 showing). Or listen to some music from one of our Glasgow afternoon events here.

My artist biography can be linked to here and here and my personal website is here

An Lanntair opening of Grounded in Stornoway

Grounded An Lanntair

The exhibition is now open at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, from 13 September to 11 October, a partner event at Hebtember Festival. Lovely to reconnect with people and see the show in An Lanntair’s beautiful setting. Some more photos to follow.

I am also uploading two new additions to the blog here, as displayed in the show, at these links: Introductory panel in English and Introductory panel in Gaelic.

If you are new to the blog, the Grounded residency diary entries and photographs begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. The book that accompanied the exhibition can be found at Exhibition explanatory book

Three audiovisuals that were part of Grounded, and the promotional audiovisual, can be watched here

The introductory page for the blog can be found here. Feedback on the Glasgow exhibition can be linked to here. Photos of the Glasgow opening event are here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be linked to here. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here. A BBC Radio Scotland interview can be found here. A review by Dr Kate Robinson can be found here. And you can listen to a cut down recording of “In Conversation: Connecting through Culture” at this Vimeo link. (16 mins.) (One of our afternoon events at Glasgow Festival 2014 XX Commonwealth Games showing). Or listen to some music from one of our Glasgow afternoon events here.

My artist biography can be linked to here and here and my personal website is here

In Conversation: Connecting through Culture

"In Conversation, Connecting through Culture", one of our afternoon events.

“In Conversation, Connecting through Culture”, one of our afternoon events.

As well as the great music during the afternoon sessions at the Grounded exhibition in Glasgow, we had this conversation (around the peats) about language, chaired by Rona MacDonald, the Gaelic Arts producer at Glasgow Life, and with special guest Craig Duggan, from BBC Wales, talking about Welsh language. Rona begins with a short Gaelic introduction, and we continue the conversation in English. You can listen to a cut down recording of the conversation at this Vimeo link. (16 mins.)

The Grounded exhibition is showing next at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, from 13 September to 11 October, a partner event at Hebtember Festival. We are heading to the Outer Hebrides tomorrow so will be offline for a couple of weeks.

If you are new to the blog, the Grounded residency diary entries and photographs begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. The book that accompanied the exhibition can be found at Exhibition explanatory book

Three audiovisuals that were part of Grounded, and the promotional audiovisual, can be watched here

The introductory page for the blog can be found here. Feedback on the Glasgow exhibition can be linked to here. Photos of the Glasgow opening event are here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be linked to here. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here. A BBC Radio Scotland interview can be found here. A review by Dr Kate Robinson can be found here.

My artist biography can be linked to here and here and my personal website is here

More than a song

I am inserting in here a link to a song and video by Dol Eoin MacKinnon. Dol Eoin sang this song at one of our afternoon sessions during the Grounded exhibition in Glasgow. I really hope you enjoy and admire the song and video as much as I do. Only 13 days to go now until Scotland votes on its future.

Dol Eoin’s next short film includes a feature on Grounded. Looking forward to being able to share that with you too.

The Grounded exhibition is showing next at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, from 13 September to 11 October, a partner event at Hebtember Festival.

If you are new to the blog, the Grounded residency diary entries and photographs begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. The book that accompanied the exhibition can be found at Exhibition explanatory book

Three audiovisuals that were part of Grounded, and the promotional audiovisual, can be watched here

An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be linked to here. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here. A BBC Radio Scotland interview can be found here. A review by Dr Kate Robinson can be found here. The introductory page for the blog can be found here. Feedback on the Glasgow exhibition can be linked to here. Photos of the Glasgow opening event are here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

My artist biography can be linked to here and here and my personal website is here

A book and an audiovisual from Grounded

The loom

There is a booklet that accompanies the Grounded exhibition. The book shows the pairing of the Scottish and Australian photographs, and presents a short story to accompany each pairing. You can view this booklet at the link below. The images and stories do vary from the diaries written whilst on residency, that have previously been posted in this blog.

Exhibition explanatory book

I am also posting here the third audiovisual from Grounded. This was produced from material gathered in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. It is 16 minutes long and can be watched here

The exhibition is showing next at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, from 13 September to 11 October, a partner event at Hebtember Festival.

If you are new to the blog, the Grounded residency diary entries and photographs begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be linked to here. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here. A BBC Radio Scotland interview can be found here. A review by Dr Kate Robinson can be found here. The introductory page for the blog can be found here. Feedback on the Glasgow exhibition can be linked to here. Photos of the Glasgow opening event are here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

 

Who Cares for Country

This is a 4-minute sound piece with just a few visuals that flash up at the end. The sound piece was presented in a room with ultra-violet sand on the floor and the text displayed in ultra violet lettering on the wall. The songs in this sound piece are from the CD “Dreaming Songs of the Warumungu Women” and provided with their kind permission and that of Papulu Apparr-kari; and from Gaelic singer Ceitlin Smith.

The exhibition is showing next at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, from 13 September to 11 October, a partner event at Hebtember Festival.

If you are new to the blog, the Grounded residency diary entries and photographs begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be linked to here. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here. A BBC Radio Scotland interview can be found here. A review by Dr Kate Robinson can be found here. The introductory page for the blog can be found here. Feedback on the Glasgow exhibition can be linked to here. Photos of the Glasgow opening event are here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

Wadlu-gnana

There are three audiovisuals in the Grounded exhibition. Wadlu-gnana (Wangkangurru language, meaning Grounded) is the first AV to be uploaded to this blog. The Australian Aboriginal song on this sound piece is from the CD “Dreaming Songs of the Warumungu Women” and provided with their kind permission and that of Papulu Apparr-kari.

The exhibition is showing next at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, from 13 September to 11 October, a partner event at Hebtember Festival.

If you are new to the blog, the Grounded residency diary entries and photographs begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be linked to here. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here. A BBC Radio Scotland interview can be found here. A review by Dr Kate Robinson can be found here. The introductory page for the blog can be found here. Feedback on the Glasgow exhibition can be linked to here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

A Review of Grounded by Dr Kate Robinson

big-red-simpson-desert-munga-thirri-national-park2

Munga-Thirri (Simpson Desert)

Song, fire, peat, dream….

Jesus’s Footprint, the ridges of the sole matching the undulations of the rock; a solidified river; Creation story; the first man.

The Elder, Mark Inkamala, kneels in the sand in Ntaria (Hermannsburg), to show Judith Parrott, the artist who hails from two places in the world: from both Australia and Scotland.

Judith frames the image. She is shooting close, with a view from above: a fringe of grass and scrub; pale sand; red rock and Mark in his baseball cap and blue jeans. Judith takes the picture when Mark’s not looking at her but towards his right as though he sees someone coming towards them from the distance. The Footprint is striding ahead, leading us into the Bush.

I put the Footprint’s co-ordinates into Google Earth and zoom out: it’s almost bang in the centre of the continent. Zoom in and there’s a path: the Red Centre Way, cut through to the horizon, straight and flat as the land beneath the hooves of Sidney Nolan’s painting of Ned Kelly’s horse.

I am red like burning fire

I am covered with a glowing red down

I am red like burning fire

I am gleaming red, glistening with ochre…

The couplets are from Songs of Central Australia by Theodore Strehlow, as translated by the Australian poet Barry Hill. [i] Strehlow was the son of a Lutheran missionary who came to Hermannsburg – the site of Jesus’s Footprint – in the 1800s. The plain white church is still there amidst the scrubby trees. He grew up trilingual in English, German and Arrarnta; was initiated into Aboriginal rites and spent thirty years gathering and translating songs from Aboriginal languages. Although Strehlow was a controversial figure and the book is now out of print, Hill, the poet, believes Strehlow’s achievement in cherishing and recording Aboriginal song is a gem, a gift.

The whole land of Australia can be read as a musical score. So says Bruce Chatwin in The Songlines. Aboriginal songs are so closely connected to the earth, musical phrases are like map references. An ‘unsung land’ he says, ‘is a dead land’. It is a crime to allow the songs to be forgotten because then ‘the land itself will die.’[ii]

Judith is singing the land, both of Aboriginal Australia and of Gaelic-speaking Scotland. She is in harmony here with other contemporary Australian artists who use mapping and music. Julie Gough, for example, looks at unresolved histories often filming outdoors, the land integral to her work.[iii] Michaela Davies, who recently performed to acclaim in Scotland, employs music to rock our sense of agency and limits of control.[iv]

Like Aboriginal song couplets, Judith’s works are arranged in pairs though rather than stretching across a continent they span tectonic plates. An Australian image nestles next to a Scottish one. Mark Inkamala kneeling beside the Footprint is juxtaposed with Canon Angus MacQueen in his Barra kitchen greeting his white cat. The compassionate face of the healer Mary Therese Mulladad surrounded by purple-painted Serpents and orange mandorlas in skeins of silk is adjacent to Flora Macdonald, focussed and intent on her spinning.

During the Alcheringa, the Dreaming Time, the Aboriginal Ancestors sang the world into existence. Every rock and creek and hill and tree was born from song. I can imagine Lewis on the Isle of Lewis, in Judith’s image, singing the seaweed into shape as he casts it into the net.

Alexander Carmichael, a Greenock Customs and Excise Officer, spent much of his life collecting Gaelic lore, hymns and incantations to cast them into his own net, his well-kennt book, Carmina Gadelica. His aim was to capture the ‘genii of the Highlands… before the spirit of modernism’ swept them away.[v] He believed this subject – the chi, the essence, the soul of a place – should be investigated and compared with other lands; this is a baton with which Judith has run.

Of the Highlands, Carmichael wrote:

‘Religion, pagan or Christian, or both combined, permeated everything – blending and shading into one another like the iridescent colours of the rainbow. The people were sympathetic and synthetic, unable to see and careless to know where the secular began and the religious ended…’[vi]

Like Theodore Strehlow, Carmichael has had his detractors. Still, his book is a labour and a testament born of his love and respect for Gaelic tradition and language. He completed the first volume in 1899, incidentally the same year Freud, in Vienna, completed The Interpretation of Dreams.

Dreams and visions are embedded in Gaelic tradition. Dwelly’s Scots/Gaelic Dictionary lists pages of Gaelic words for dream: aisling, bruadair, dreang, fis, sealladh… Similarly, it records many words for vision: léisinn, radharc, dailgneachd, taibhse…The gift of second sight is prized.

In The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin accompanies a Russian man surveying the locale of a proposed railway line from Alice to Darwin. The Russian’s job is to identify the ‘traditional landowners’. Western law is etymologically ingrained with the boundaries of land, with fair distribution. The word ‘law’ itself, as Chatwin points out, has its basis in the ancient Greek word for pasture, nomos.[vii] Nomads, like birds and animals, find a Way through.

Chatwin – the Pom – and the Russian go on a journey in a beat-up old truck, meeting Aboriginal men and women along the way; in the towns; in country; missing, out on Walkabout. When they meet, they generally drink or eat together. Bottles of beer popped, steaks on the BBQ – songs and dreaming around the fire.

When Judith asked her Aboriginal colleagues for words which conjured the idea of land, ‘fire’ was key. Even on a journey, a hearth provides a sense of home. In the Highlands of Scotland the ritual of ‘smooring the fire’ was usually performed by the woman of the house. As a part of the exhibition we are re-creating a version, here, in the gallery.

Smooring the peat is, according to Carmina Gadelica, ‘artistic and symbolic, and is performed with loving care…. ’ Once complete, over the embers and the ashes, a blessing:

AN Tri numh                                                THE sacred Three
A chumhnadh,                                            To save,
A chomhnadh,                                            To shield,
A chomraig                                                 To surround
An tula,                                                       The hearth,
An taighe,                                                   The house,
An teaghlaich,                                             The household,
An oidhche,                                                This eve,
An nochd,                                                   This night,
O! an oidhche,                                            Oh! this eve,
An nochd,                                                   This night,
Agus gach oidhche,                                    And every night,
Gach aon oidhche.                                     Each single night.
Amen                                                           Amen.
[i] Hill, Barry, Broken Song, (Random House: Australia, 2012) Kindle Edition, loc.491.

[ii] Chatwin, Bruce, The Songlines, (Picador: London 1988) 58.

[iii] Gough, Julie, Traveller, HDMI video projection, 2013.

[iv] Davies, Michaela, Compositions for Involuntary Strings, performed at Tramway, Glasgow, 2013.

[v] Carmichael, Alexander, Carmina Gadelica, (Floris Books: Edinburgh 1992)30.

[vi] Ibid, 29.

[vii]Chatwin, 205.

Link to information about Dr Kate Robinson here.


If you are new to the blog, the Grounded residency diary entries and photographs begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be linked to here. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here. A BBC Radio Scotland interview can be found here. The introductory page for the blog can be found here. Feedback on the Glasgow exhibition can be linked to here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

The exhibition is showing next at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, from 13 September to 11 October., a partner event at Hebtember Festival.