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Artistic responses

Re-collecting Empire uses artistic responses to explore the legacies of empire today.

Alberta Whittle

Alberta Whittle is an artist, researcher and curator. She was awarded a Turner Bursary, the Frieze Artist Award and a Henry Moore Foundation Artist Award in 2020. She is representing Scotland at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022.

Whittle’s creative practice is motivated by the desire to manifest self-compassion and collective care as a key method of tackling anti-blackness.

Two sets of prints by Whittle will be featured in Re-collecting Empire, including a brand new suite of prints created in response to objects in the University of St Andrews’ Collections. ‘The Conjuror’ offers new insights into Whittle’s anti-colonial practice and her attention to how art can create space for celebration, communion, healing and self-care.

You can here directly from Alberta about her practice and her new work in particular on the Museum’s Curiosity Conversation podcast.

Stephen McLaren

Stephen McLaren is a photographer, writer and curator. His series ‘Jamaica: A Sweet Forgetting’ explores the impact of the imbalanced legacy of the sugar trade on both sides of the Atlantic, showing abandoned plantations in Jamaica, the luxurious homes of the plantation owners back in Scotland, and portraits of Jamaicans of Scottish descent.

He says “In addition to the wealth [plantation owners] brought home, much of Scotland’s economy benefitted from the Jamaican sugar trade, though most Scots chose to forget the misery that lay behind their favourite sweetner. […] To this day a degree of collective amnesia in Scotland obscures this period of Scottish history and conveniently forgets the role Scotland played in the era of African slavery.”

Moving Art, Connecting Voices

‘Moving Art, Connecting Voices’ brings together young people from Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Syria and Vietnam who have recently moved to Scotland and unites them with pupils from Levenmouth Academy in Fife. The group create art, poetry and music to explore their identity and cultures and tackle the media’s portrayal of “migrants” as a faceless whole.

Moving Art, Connecting Voices is a collaboration with the department of English for Speakers of Other Languages at Fife Council and was generously supported by Creative Scotland.