Pig Rock Bothy Exhibition, November 2019
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
In November 2019, I exhibited at Pig Rock Bothy, located on the grounds of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.
Pig Rock Bothy was commissioned in 2014 by the Scottish National Galleries to provide a temporary venue for a varied programme of talks, performances and events as part of Generation – an exhibition celebrating 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland. In my time spent here I exhibited a piece of work titled 'Kids with Sticks', a combination of film and drawings. The film was based on the recollections of my 80 year old Granddad, he tells how as a child he used to be paid by the workers who farmed corn to kill the rats that lived under the corn stacks with sticks. The film also includes a fond memory of a game I used to play when I was younger, Poo Sticks, and an animation of a stick being carved into a sword. For this project I chose sticks to base the memories around, it was not hard to think of the many memories created with sticks. The power of imagination especially as a child can transform a stick into anything. These are family memories that are shared over time; they are remembered because they mean something. They are allegories and cautionary tales; we don’t know what they mean and that is how we make them.
In the days spent there I had the privilege of getting to talk to a range of different visitors about my work and their feelings on it. One visitor mentioned how my film reminded them of their Granddad, who used to chop thin pieces of wood for her and her siblings to paint and then play Poo Sticks with. Another visitor said that the work made her think of her childhood friend that poked his eye ball out with a stick when he was younger, and therefore had to get a glass eye, which he used to put in peoples drinks when they weren’t looking. Surprisingly, one visitor said that their Granddad, also used to get paid to kill rats by workers on a farm, which I thought was a knish thing only my Granddad experienced.
Having these conversations with people, added more to the memory journey I am creating, out of my control, peoples contingent experiences becomes part of the context of the work and the meaning they take from it .The work extends into something bigger, a collective of affects and memories that hopefully will always keep the work open-ended.