Astrid Jaekel's Rose Street Poem of the Season
A Quick Recap
February has proven to be an interesting and exciting month for Scottish art news. Here's a quick rundown of what has been happening in the Scottish art world this month.
Remembering Kurt Schwitters
The Herald writes of a new major exhibition at Tate Britain recounting a dark, yet fascinating time in British History. An internment camp on the Isle of Man housed hundreds of Germans who sought to escape persecution from the Nazis, only to find themselves held as prisoners in Britain.
However this particular camp had an art studio, with many of the inmates artists deemed as degenerates by the Nazis. One such artistic inmate was Kurt Schwitters, a visionary artist who had an important impact upon the British art scene.
As the article states, "Schwitters's impact on British art in the immediate post-war era was profound, resonating with artists from the pop generation of Richard Hamilton and Eduardo Paolozzi to artists working today."
The Scottish son of the camp commandant, Hubert Daniel, revealed to the Herald how it was his father's determination to let the artists work that allowed them to flourish. Peter Daniel, now 88, travelled from his home in the Scottish Borders to the Tate to see the Schwitters exhibition, which owes its existence, in part, to the kindness his father showed to those captive artists.
Peter said: "My father didn't have to do what he did, but he did, fortunately. Perhaps because he survived the first world war and maybe he had a certain sympathy for the underdog.
"He found them materials, gave them space, a studio, allowing them to meet and talk and generally get on together. They were all academics and artists fleeing the Nazis.
"The studio was rough-and-ready, made out of a half-constructed house. They were able to convert it into a studio."
Budget Cutting in Moray
A number of prominent Scottish artists and creatives have voiced their concern and opposition to the Moray Council's decision to cut its entire arts budget, writes Andrew Eaton-Lewis in the Scotsman.
Kevin McKidd told his Twitter following that it was “a disgrace” whilst painter and playwright John Byrne thought the decision was “outrageous".
Yet, as Andrew notes in the article, this is not an isolated incident. Local authorities have a history of deciding not just to reduce arts funding but to stop funding the arts entirely.
However this concerning trend has made its way north of the border for the first time; Moray is the first council in Scotland to do it. It may not be the last - Stirling Council is debating whether to cut grants to the MacRobert Arts Centre, Stirling Writers Group, Artlink and Art Forum, and close art gallery the Changing Room.
Stirringly Andrew suggest those of us who care for the arts not sit idly by and let this happen; "Every time a council stops funding the arts entirely, though, the principle that the arts should be publicly funded – in the name of civic pride, social unity, and universal access to a whole world of potentially life-changing ideas and possibilities, or just for the economic benefits – is further eroded. If that matters to you at all, stand up against what is happening in Moray, in particular. Otherwise your town might be next."
Brighten Up The Meadows
Another story in the Scotsman, this one a little more uplifting.
Astrid Jaekel (pictured above) is keen to tackle a long-standing problem of graffiti by bringing some colour back to the Meadows.
The Edinburgh College of Art tutor is keen to erect panels on the ScottishPower substation at Middle Meadow Walk, featuring snapshots of life in the area.
Her work can already be seen brightening up the MacDonald Roxburghe Hotel on Rose Street.
She said: “There is a rich history in this area and I think this project would help celebrate that while also solving the graffiti problem.”
Her proposal is to be discussed at Barclay Viewforth Church at 7.30pm on March 18.
Did we miss anything out? Let us know in the comments section below.