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Eden Court unveils Black Lives Matter art installation in response to Highland reaction


By Hector MacKenzie

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Jacqueline Briggs.
Jacqueline Briggs.

EDEN Court has unveiled a specially commissioned artwork installation in response to the Black Lives Matter movement as part of nationwide project.

Following the Black Lives Matter peaceful protest in Inverness earlier this month, Eden Court offered their building as a place to display the banners, placards and posters that had been placed on Ness Bridge, so that the general public are able to continue to view them and reflect.

The initial desire to provide a location for the messages of support and solidarity soon gained momentum.

The Black Lives Matter – Scottish Mural trail is the brainchild of Edinburgh-based Wezi Mhura and is supported by venues and arts organisations including Eden Court as well as Edinburgh International Festival, Dance Base, Queen’s Hall Edinburgh, Glasgow’s King’s Theatre and Theatre Royal, and many more.

Following discussions between Eden Court and Wezi Mhura it became clear that the banners, placards and posters from Ness Bridge should be integrated into an artistic response to the movement.

Jacqueline Briggs at work.
Jacqueline Briggs at work.
“A celebration of the diversity of people who live in the Highlands, it is really exciting and poignant to have local banners of support for the movement fully incorporated within the artwork. Displayed together, I hope to encapsulate the importance of unity and compassion as we strive for equality.” - Jacqueline Briggs

Eden Court has commissioned local illustrator Jacqueline Briggs to create an artwork that forms the central focus of a temporary installation at Eden Court and includes the Inverness posters and banners that were created to mark the peaceful protest that took place in the city on June 7.

Jacqueline is based at Inverness Wasps Studios and is half Scottish and half Papua New Guinean. She is inspired by the beauty of the contrasting landscapes and cultures of her dual heritage. Her artwork hopes to encapsulate the importance of unity and togetherness as we strive for equality. Jacqueline is also a valued member of the Eden Court team.

Although the building remains closed, the installation has been designed to be viewed through the restaurant windows where social distancing considerations can be appropriately observed. When Eden Court re-opens it will be on display again before the posters and banners move to the Highland Archive Centre.

Lucy McGlennon, head of engagement at Eden Court said: "As a publicly funded organisation, we take our civic responsibility seriously; we want everyone to feel like they have a place at Eden Court and we proudly curate a diverse artistic programme that creates space for artists and amplifies marginalised voices within our community.

"In our response to the global Black Lives Matter campaign we felt two things were vital. Firstly, that we proudly state that Eden Court denounces racism. And, secondly, that we made space for an artistic response. On invitation to join the United We Stand mural project, we therefore commissioned this beautiful piece of art, by Jacqueline Briggs, which hosts and interprets the pieces created by our local community. Working alongside Jacqueline as she has created this mural has been a genuine pleasure; it’s felt exciting, it’s felt powerful and most importantly, it feels right. I’m delighted there is space in our city to amplify the Black Lives Matter campaign."

Black Lves Matter posters on the Ness Bridge
Picture: Gary Anthony
Black Lves Matter posters on the Ness Bridge Picture: Gary Anthony

Jacqueline Briggs said: “A celebration of the diversity of people who live in the Highlands, it is really exciting and poignant to have local banners of support for the movement fully incorporated within the artwork. Displayed together, I hope to encapsulate the importance of unity and compassion as we strive for equality.”

Wezi Mhura said: “The Scottish government says it recognizes the strength in its aspirations to a more equal and more diverse

society going forward, and we hope this Mural Trail will help to start the conversations that need to be happening now. It’s been amazing to connect in with so many talented artists (with roots in so many different places) who have been so enthusiastic about getting behind this project”.

Related: Black Isle designer makes a stand over racism with unique piece

Highland Council leader welcomes plans to display BLM posters

PICTURES: Peaceful protests in Ross-shire show strength of feeling


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