Gracefield Arts Centre Kicks Off May Activities

Landmark exhibition Crafted Selves tours to Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries in May, exploring dual identity in contemporary art and craft. Curated by Cat Dunn and programmed by Fife Contemporary, Crafted Selves: The Unfinished Conversation showcases the work of thirteen Scotland based artists exploring dual identities in their work.

Featuring emerging and established artists and makers the exhibition features sculpture, painting, ceramics, textiles, installation, moving image films and creative writing and all in some way carry a dual identity. Many have a sense of their own self born from having a cultural heritage which is both Scottish and one which is rooted in another cultural home and explores other dualisms and expressions of identity such as their sexuality, disability, or trans and non-binary selves through their work.

The artists include Barbadian-Scottish visual artist Alberta Whittle who recently represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale, Zimbabwean-Scottish artist, Sekai Machache who will represent Zimbabwe at the 2024 Venice Biennale, Chinese-Scottish ceramicist Viv Lee, Chinese-Scottish installation artist Rae-Yen Song and Iranian-Scottish visual artist Sara Pakdel-Cherry, with Ashanti Harris, Adil Iqbal, Eden Grant Dodd, Li Huang, Emelia Beale, Joy Baek, Tilda Williams-Kelly and Harvey Dimond.

Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake commented: “It’s fantastic to see the scope of art being created in Scotland today and engaging with current issue in such a creative and intriguing way – congratulations to Fife Contemporary and curator Cat Dunn for touring the work, we are delighted to host it here in Dumfries and Galloway.”

You can join Cat Dunn on the opening Saturday, 18 May, at 1pm for a curator’s tour and question and answer session.

Over in Gracefield Gallery 1, opening the same weekend is CENTRAL BOOKING: The Visual Read – Artists from New York and Dumfries and Galloway artists Hugh Bryden and Linda Mallett.

CENTRAL BOOKING focuses on the breadth and depth of the book works of the more than 30 plus of the distinguished artists who live, work and are from New York. Curator Maddy Rosenberg said: “The historical structure of Gracefield provides the ideal venue to showcase the more traditional idea of the artist’s book as a handheld object, along with the expansion of it through sculptural installations – works that utilize the walls, floors, ceilings, and even staircases. Materials to explore include paper, but go well beyond an image on a flat surface; many of these artists approach the book as the sculptural object it is, therefore incorporating metal, stone and digital elements into their work.”

In appreciation of the Scottish contribution of sandstone to the essence of architectural New York, some of the artists draw their inspiration from the subject, others deal with ecology and the waters that surround us, still others those of social and political issues, as do some draw you in with texture, colour and subtle cuts. Dumfries-based Hugh Bryden has been working with Central Bookings curator Maddy Rosenberg on their Sandstone Steps project and this led to the idea to showcase the wider range of artist work here in Scotland.

Vice Chair of Communities Committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon, added: “It’s great to be part able to showcase international artists, don’t miss the chance to see this inspiring New York work in our local gallery.”

Gallery Event: Saturday 18 May, 2 to 4pm. Join Maddy Rosenberg and Hugh Bryden in the gallery to chat about their work. Maddy will be based in Dumfries and Galloway over the summer and will also be working in the Gracefield Print Studio, available to chat and share her knowledge by appointment. Please contact the gallery for details of her schedule.
Open again for teas, coffees, light lunches, and home baking is The Studio Café . This is a new professional enterprise business from the Usual Place cafe.

Admission to Gracefield exhibitions is always free and open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm.