Burns photography exhibition opens in Holyrood

21.01.2009

An exciting exhibition combining poetry by Robert Burns with photographs of noteworthy Scots will open at Holyrood on Thursday 22 January. This contemporary portraiture exhibition by photographers Ross Gillespie and Tricia Malley, (collectively known as 'Broad Daylight'), will be at Holyrood until Saturday 14 February 2009, before it departs to visit other venues across Scotland.

As part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, ‘as others see us’ contains photographs of noteworthy Scots and their response to a chosen Burns work, demonstrating how his work continues to inspire centuries later. Sitters range from a clan chief and an Ayrshire farmer to musicians and writers such as Eddi Reader and Christopher Brookmyre.

Speaking ahead of the opening, Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said: ”I am delighted that we are beginning 2009 with an exhibition on Burns, a man whose words and songs have provided inspiration and enjoyment to people around the globe for over 200 years.

"The launch of this exhibition is a fitting way for the Scottish Parliament to begin its series of activities and events to mark Scotland’s year of Homecoming as well as our 10th anniversary. All in all, 2009 promises to be an exciting year.”

Broad Daylight photographers Ross Gillespie and Tricia Malley said: “Working on this project has been both a challenge and an inspiration. Our style of portraiture is to have no fixed style but rather to adapt our approach to reflect the personality of the sitter.

"The challenge here was to capture not only each individual sitter’s character but also try to convey something of the essence of his or her favourite Burns poem in a single portrait. It was inspiring to work with such a diverse, creative and intellectual group of people, each one of whom it was a pleasure to meet and whose cooperation with the way we work contributed greatly to the end result.

"As we discovered during the time spent on this project, Robert Burns is just as relevant, entertaining and inspiring today as he was 250 years ago.”

Homecoming Scotland project director Marie Christie said: “We are delighted that ‘as others see us’, opening at the Scottish Parliament and then touring nationally, is part of the 250th anniversary weekend celebrations that will launch Homecoming. The exhibition demonstrates Burns’ relevance to some of today’s influential Scots.”

The exhibition contains the following portraits, listed alongside the chosen poem:

  • The Death and Dying Words of Poor Mailie – Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP
  • Address of Beelzebub - Edwin Morgan (Scotland’s Makar)
  • Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation - Hardeep Singh Kohli (Journalist)
  • A Man's a Man for a' That - First Minister Alex Salmond MSP
  • A Man's a Man for a' That - Andrew O'Hagan (Writer)
  • A Man's a Man for a' That - Ian Wilmut (Scientist)
  • Ca’ the yowes to the knowes - Janice Galloway (Writer)
  • Tam O’Shanter – Janice Kirkpatrick (Designer, Writer and Broadcaster)
  • Tam O’Shanter – Christopher Brookmyre (Writer)
  • To a Mouse - Neil Gillon (Ayrshire farmer)
  • Mary Morison - Liz Lochhead (Poet and Playwright)
  • Epigrame to an artist - Denise Mina (Writer)
  • The Tree of Liberty - Amar Anwar (Human Rights Lawyer)
  • A Red Red Rose - Moir Lockhead (Entrepreneur)
  • To a Louse - Patrick Doyle (Composer)
  • To a Louse - Jim McCall (Entrepreneur)
  • Holy Willie's Prayer - Peter Howson (Artist)
  • The Highland Welcome - Sir Malcolm MacGregor (Clan Chief)
  • Lovely Polly Stewart - Eddi Reader (Singer)
  • Though Cruel Fate - Peter Capaldi (Actor)

Tricia Malley and Ross Gillespie will also deliver a public talk and tour of the ‘as others see us’ exhibition on Tuesday 27 January, 14.00-14.40, in the Main Hall.

Please visit www.broaddaylightltd.co.uk for a full list of sitters and venues. As of 22 January, this site will feature images of all sitters, texts and responses.

What some of the sitters had to say:

A Red Red Rose - Moir Lockhead (Entrepreneur)

"I am very flattered to be part of Ross Gillespie and Tricia Malley's 'as others see us' exhibition. Tricia and Ross are real masters and it is a thrill to see my portrait alongside famous Scots.”

Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation - Hardeep Singh Kohli (Journalist)
"I have had many cameras thrust in my face. That is the lot of an international love-god and style icon (which I am). However, I have never experienced such a creative and rewarding shoot as that I had with Ross and Tricia. And they gave me soup. Really nice soup. Homemade soup. I miss them. And the soup.”

A Man's a Man for a' That - Ian Wilmut (Scientist)
"It is a real pleasure and honour to take part in this event. My wife and I made our home in Scotland more than 35 years ago. I am particularly pleased to celebrate the birth of Burns because so many of the poems that he wrote are as relevant today as they have ever been. He had a great insight into human nature and society. It is a great shame that there is nobody today who has the same vision, compassion and ability to put these into words that we can all understand and enjoy."  

Background
The year of Homecoming Scotland 2009 has been established to mark the anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns. As part of the year’s activities, the Scottish Parliament will contribute by hosting a number of events to celebrate the work of Robert Burns and promote Scotland to visitors, particularly those with Scottish ancestry and links.

  • On 21 January, the Presiding Officer will host an international Burns Night Supper, with 38 countries represented at the meal. Earlier that day, Time for Reflection will be delivered by Speaker of the Ontario Parliament, the Hon. Steve Peters.
  • 24 July 2009: The Clan Convention, organised by the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, will bring together all Scotland's clan chiefs along with clan representatives from across the world.  More than 400 delegates from around the world will gather to take part in lively discussions and debate in an event that will be the first of its kind. Delegates will discuss a number of issues including the role of the clan in the 21st century and the contribution of the clans to Scotland historically, and today.
  • 25 July 2009: The Scottish Diaspora Forum will bring together leading Scottish and international thinkers from politics, business, arts and civic society to generate a dynamic vision of the future for the Scots and their global family.  The Forum will include panel debates, music, theatre, writers and artists, genealogy, innovation and enterprise, and a Dragons' ‘Glen’ pitching for a future vision for Scotland . 
  • 'This is who we are' - an exhibition showcasing community photography projects that Graeme Murdoch and Harry McGrath have delivered across Scotland and Canada exploring links between towns and communities with shared place-names - on display between 1-30 November 2009.