The Seaman’s Hall has come out of its summer slumber to participate in the Nairn Book and Arts Festival 2014. It’s worth a visit folks, we are lucky that so many people have done so much hard work to lay on a series of exhibitions across Nairn for the Festival and it is a thrill just to see the Seaman’s Hall in a new guise, one of its secret selves perhaps, with people moving around doing what they do at exhibitions. Another underused space is transformed for the Nairn Book and Arts Festival. What a pity there couldn’t be this much of a buzz about the hall several days a week all year round. At least the Referendum will fill it for another day later in September.
A lot of interesting stuff to look at then and my favourite of the night was “The High Priestess of Holding Hands” by Charis Edward Wells. A “mixed media installation with photography, film and performance.” Over in a corner it draws you in, looking a bit of an orphan perhaps, away from the other works all by itself.
The artist Charis Edward is quoted: “In between, the reinforced structures and our own realised concepts in the space to play; the questions. Why do we walk on pavements and not over walls? Why do we feel ungroomed when we grow our body hair? Why do we see with our eyes and not our noses? These questions in a very simple way are scientific play time experiments. Experimentation and exploration of thought is intrinsic to my practice and since the subject can vary dramatically in my work, the medium can vary too. In saying this there is one consistency: I must be in the work. I believe the most effective way in which to present the sincerity of the work is to be present within it and for the audience to experience it directly.”
More from Charis Edward in the handout that guides you around the hall and plenty more from other third year students too. A lot to look at and a lot to read in the guide too. You can do the reading whilst walking around or perhaps when you take the sheets of paper home but it would have been nice to have had the opportunity to sit in a comfortable armchair and set about that task that way. You can’t have everything though.
There was a link on Charis Edward’s work to his website. Here’s another piece of writing from the artist. A slightly different vein perhaps:
“I have a friend who is a sex therapist. He has worked in many places. He informed me that the North-East of Scotland is more sexually repressed that Bible-Belt US. My thoughts wandered. Cerebrally, I took a jaunt through the history of sexual repression and peered at other cultures who seem to have avoided the suffocating effects of a life of continual self-repression, like the Baltic people who still use sex magic and ritual as a part of everyday life. What if Elgin, my hometown, had avoided the repressive Victorian values and looked at sex as the special, mystical and vital thing it is. How could that have happened? The High Priestess is the myth I wish we had.”
Entry to New Highland Contemporary is free at the Seaman’s Hall, Harbour Street, Saturday 30th August - Sunday 7th September 10am to 4pm