Blogs and News - St George's School For Girls, Edinburgh
CULTURAL SURPRISES WITH LOTS OF COFFEE STOPS
The first surprise for this group of Upper 6 leavers was to have two art teachers - Ms Knox leading and exchange teacher Debra Hoffman from Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia.
Our first stop was the exhibition NOW at The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art 1 championing the work of contemporary artists. An installation of shopping lists by Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander generated much discussion as students picked favourite shopping lists and observed the type of person behind each handwritten list. We saw the film ‘Tenant’ by the same artist and stood agog and chatted about the significance in Nathan Coley‘s installation of 286 hand-made sculptures of Edinburgh’s places of worship.
After essential coffee, we did a speed walk to Stockbridge and visited the Contemporary Art Practice exhibition at Patriothall Gallery. The biggest surprise in this diverse mixed media show was to see Ms Knox’s films Tide and Time; and to meet Leesa French from Leith School of Art and other artists based at Patriothall studios.
After picnicking in a sunny park, we headed to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and examined 170 year-old photographs by Hill and Adamson in the aptly named exhibition ‘A Perfect Chemistry’. This led to discussion about how far art has developed since the invention of photography. We had just watched The Slave’s Lament by contemporary artist Graham Fagen. This multi-media work takes Roberts Burns’ song lamenting the hurt of the displaced, the trafficked and the enslaved. Its beautiful lyrics were performed by reggae artist Ghetto Priest accompanied by the Scottish Ensemble. Although this song was written over two hundred years ago, it has a narrative that remains contemporary as we think of current tragedies unfolding on borders today.
Our last stop of the day was the Royal Scottish Academy where we visited SUMMAa dynamic group exhibition of the most recent RSA artist residencies across Scotland. Having met the artist Paul Furneaux earlier in the day we looked at his Japanese block printing materials and his intense sketches inspired by his time walking on the isle of Lewis. He explained that his abstract prints respond to his memories of that landscape. We ended the day watching ‘Emma’s Holograph writing’ a film by Rachel McBrinn inspired by the RSA archives of the potter Emma Gillies (who was the hidden sister of the more celebrated painter William Gillies). This evocative film was a fitting finish to a day packed-full of cultural surprises.