Art In The Time Of Covid

By Bernie Bell

I haven’t been into Stromness for months and months.  I have various health difficulties, including asthma, which means that, at the present time, I don’t go anywhere indoors where there are unknown people, if I can help it.  You don’t know where they’ve beeeen!

I like to go to exhibitions in, for example, Tankerness House, The Pier Arts Centre and Northlight Gallery, but, at the moment, even if open to the public, I consider them to be closed to me!

So, I was very pleased to hear that an art exhibition, hosted by local Arts Collective Móti is taking place in the windows of various shops and houses along Stromness High Street.

This meant that, weather permitting, we would be able to go into town, wend our way along the street, out of doors, and see works by some folk whose work I’m familiar with, such as Kristyn Grieve, Kerrianne Flett, Becci May and Norna Sinclair.

And also some by folk whose work we haven’t encountered before, including Louise Barrington, Samantha Gray, Boyd & Grogan, Kelly Marwick, Amy Beeston, Frances Scott & Mary Grieve.

Móti are presenting their work as part of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, with the theme of ‘Bounded Islands’……

Their  exhibition runs from the 16th to the 29th November, and from the Bayleaf Deli  to Number 4,  Dundas Street – diagonally across from Northlight Gallery.

This was quite a big adventure for me. We went to Wellpark Garden Centre a few weeks ago when things were looking better re. Covid, but that was mostly outside anyway.  Actually going into town, was quite exciting, and I was looking forward to it!

We parked by the statue of Dr. John Rae (if you’ve had a look at my link to Kristyn’s work, you’ll see that she is an admirer of the Good Doctor)  and headed off up the street to the Bayleaf, where we saw ‘Weather Shapes’ by Louise Barrington…….

On, up along the Street, to Sutherland’s Coal Merchants, and two pieces by Samantha Gray, inspired by the archaeology dig at the Ness of Brodgar –

‘Structure 5 and Great Wall’ and ‘Neolithic Grid’…..

The next two pieces of work are exhibited in the windows of an empty shop – the first one you come to is by Boyd & Grogan, a collaborative duo consisting of  Susan Boyd and Kristel Grogan, entitled ‘Connected’…..

And then, in the next window – ‘Lockdown/Not Lockdown: A View of Hoy from the Hill of Ireland’ by Becci May

The Stromness Bookshop (aka ‘Tams’) has a set of four images by Kelly Marwick, entitled:-

Wideford Looking South – Wideford Looking North – Birsay Swell – Jellies at Northside

Northlight Gallery in Graham Place, has three windows and a door to offer!  Working from right to left, in the window just around the corner – Kerrianne Flett’s piece – ‘Islander’….

The large window on the right hand side of the door, holds Norna Sinclair’s ‘Edges’….

The door nicely holds the shape of Amy Beeston’s  ‘Dead Sands’…

And Kristyn Grieve’s  ‘These Islands Hold Us’  completes Northlight’s contribution to the whole…..

The two front windows of Number 4, Dundas Street, hold, on the left – two maps, entitled ‘North Ronaldsay Handwritten Map’ and ‘Rousay Handwritten Map’ by Frances Scott…..

….and Dan was kind enough to put the lights on for us!

The last of the Móti artworks in the ‘Bounded Islands’ exhibition is by Mary Grieve, is in the right hand window of Number 4, and is very fittingly entitled ‘How Cold is the Water?’

The water which surrounds us, here in our island home, Orkney.

This outdoor exhibition is a gift to those who need to be extra careful – it’s A GOOD THING anyway – do have a dander along the street, and take a look for yourselves.

Normally, we would then have gone to Julia’s for lunch, but, as ‘normal’ isn’t happening in these days – we went home instead, and pored over our photos!…

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