Exhibition: EAST-WEST:WEST-EAST. iota Unlimited Studios 25 Hyndland Street, Glasgow G11 5QE 15 February - 2 March 2019
The idea for this exhibition came from a variety of experiences and events. Whilst studying at Art College I had been influenced by Islamic Art and Architecture and intrigued by calligraphy as an expression of both word and image. My treks and mountaineering through the High Atlas of Morocco deepened this appreciation and respect.
The past ten years have witnessed a rise in Islamophobia in Britain. I felt that I had to make some kind of individual stand against this. As seems to be almost the norm with creative endeavours, events collided. Happening upon a newspaper photograph of the Holyrood swearing in of new MSPs, there was a most intriguing image of a new Glaswegian/Asian MSP, Humza Yousaf, resplendent in traditional Highland wear. But was this really, 'traditional kilt and jacket'? Looking again at the jacket it was possible to see that the details of design and cut were more Asian than Scottish. What I saw was a statement of pure fusion, the wearing of the traditional costume of Scotland, but also bringing something else of another cultural background to the event. We are the richer and more diverse for this.
At the same time I came across a collaborative book of poetry by Tessa Ransford and Iyad Hayatleh - Rug of a Thousand Colours, work inspired by the Five Pillars of Islam. https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/authors/iyad-hayatleh/ Iyad's poems in particular keyed into themes of a deep sense of place, loss and exile that run through my own work from Skye and the north-west of Scotland.
Sadly after working with Jawdat Al Sabbagh towards the 'Rug of a Thousand Colours' I lost contact with him. With advice from Janice Oliver, outreach support at Central Mosque in Edinburgh, I met Azim Rehmat Din www.rehmatdin.com - a young calligrapher, living in Edinburgh and working in Glasgow. I had met with Meg Bateman poet and lecturer in Sabhal Ostaig, Skye and had gained her approval to use her work. I also gained permission from the Sorley MacLean Trust to use Sorley's words.
Given these important sources of influence, East-West:West-East seemed a more appropriate and more literally apt title for this exhibition. At the opening of the exhibition, Iyad gave a reading of his work, 'Fifty' and Muireann Kelly (Artistic Director of Theatre Gu Leor) read Meg Bateman's, 'Naomh'.
iota Unlimited Studios, Hyndland is not specifically an art gallery. The space has and is, used for performance, lectures and installations as well as the visual arts. I was most grateful to Monica and Duncan for their support and guidance and for hosting this collection of work
Rug of a thousand colours after Iyad Hayatleh
Hallaig The Pass of Likempt
'Here' 36x36cm after Iyad Hayatleh
Taggort Prayer II after Iyad Hayatleh 36 x36cm
Naomh (The Saint) after Meg Bateman