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Gairloch Museum's summer events include artist Alison Dunlop, writer Adam Nicolson and the Minch Torc


By Margaret Chrystall

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There is still time to get along to an event on Wednesday (July 28) – part of Gairloch Museum's exciting summer programme – when Matt Knight, National Museums Scotland talks about the gold Minch Torc.

Gairloch Museum's esummer events includes an exhibition of the work of artist Alison Dunlop,
Gairloch Museum's esummer events includes an exhibition of the work of artist Alison Dunlop,

A torc is usually a metal neck ring – this one was discovered in 1991 when fishermen pulled up the Bronze Age item while dredging for scallops off the Shiant Isles in the Hebrides.

Matt Knight will explore the significance of the Minch torc and looks at its place among other seabed discoveries. He will also look at the role of gold in Britain and Ireland.

It costs £3 to attend the online event – details here: www.gairlochmuseum.org/events

Full details of the other events happening at the museum during July and August are below.

Throughout the time, the work of artist Alison Dunlop will be on show there with drawings, watercolours and photographs of the Shiant Isles in her exhibition The Spirit of Beyond: The Shiant Isles.

Two years in the making, her tribute to the “enchanted isles” that lie between Wester Ross and the Outer Hebrides is collected together in the show.

An exhibit from Alison Dunlop's show.
An exhibit from Alison Dunlop's show.

Alison has also worked with writers, poets, naturalists and Gaelic speakers to bring their perspectives to bear on this celebration of place.

The exhibition features Gaelic folklore and song inspired by the islands and has spawned what might be termed a mini-festival of events that celebrate the geology, history, birdlife and inspiration that the Shiant Isles provide.

A book, with a foreword by Adam Nicolson – who has his own event about the islands (see below) – has been produced to accompany the exhibition and comprises the entire collection of work inspired by the islands including many drawings, watercolours and photographs not featured in the exhibition.

Born in Canada, Alison began her studies there before continuing in France and Britain.

In 1982, she came to Scotland to undertake postgraduate studies at Edinburgh College of Art and has since made Scotland her home.

Speaking of her forthcoming exhibition Alison commented: "Ever since moving to Gairloch to establish my studio here, the Shiant Isles have been an enigmatic presence on my horizon.

"Some days, their form is barely discernible through veils of mist but, in 2019, I finally set foot on the Isles. When seen close up, they teem with a life and richness which I hadn’t imagined; the sheer scale and drama of the daunting cliffs of columnar basalt rising from the sea is overpowering.

"My work explores these two edges – the distant and the close up – and I am thrilled at how this extraordinary place has inspired me to create this new body of work.”

Gairloch Museum curator, Dr Karen Buchanan commented: “The Shiant Isles may not be as well known as St Kilda, but their presence, history and mythology is just as interesting and exciting – even more so, due to their undiscovered quality.

"We’re really pleased to be hosting Alison’s work and are delighted at the other events which will accompany her exhibition.”

Other events are:

The Minch Torc with Matt Knight

Wednesday July 28 at 7.30pm

Online event, £3

Matt Knight, National Museums Scotland explores the significance of the Minch torc and talks about the role of gold in Britain and Ireland.

Making Geological Maps with Professor Rob Butler

Tuesday August 3 at 7.30pm

Online event, £3

Geologists make maps of the distribution of the earth’s surface (and in the subsurface) but these are far more than simply spatial catalogues of rocks. This fully illustrated talk looks at how mapping has created geological knowledge in north-west Scotland – both onshore and offshore.

The Shiant Isles – Adam Nicolson

Saturday August 14 at 4pm

In-person and online event, £6

Adam Nicolson once owned the Shiant Isles and is the author of Sea Room published in 2014 and many other titles. In an illustrated presentation, Adam will share stories about life on the island.

The Shiant Isles are celebrated in artist's work at Gairloch Museum.
The Shiant Isles are celebrated in artist's work at Gairloch Museum.

Brian Hill Poetry Reading

Wednesday August 21 at 3pm

Brian Hill reads his series of poems written for Alsion Dunlop’s Spirit of Beyond: The Shiant Isles Exhibition. Full details of how to attend TBC

Seabird Island – Robin Reid, RSPB

Tuesday August 24 at 7.30pm

Online event, £4

These spectacular islands are home to around 100,000 pairs of breeding seabirds making this one of the most important and arresting seabird colonies in Scotland. Robin Reid RSPB Conservation Officer shares stories of the rich wildlife as well as the conservation projects that help to protect them.

Gairloch Museum is open Monday-Saturday from 10am to 5pm. To book your visit please call 01445 712 287.

Due to COVID restrictions, there are a limited number of tickets available for the programme of events. More details and to book a place at events: www.gairlochmuseum.org/events

www.facebook.com/gairlochmuseum


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