The worlds of art, specifically printmaking, and shinty have come together for a project that celebrates the culture and heritage of one of Scotland’s oldest sports.
The Throw Up 20.18 project, organised by Highland Print Studio and funded by Highland Culture Strategic Board’s ‘Highland Culture: Take Pride, Take Part’ programme, commissioned four artists to work with designated shinty clubs during 2017 and into the 2018 season. A selection of the final work will be exhibited for the first time at next weekend’s Camanachd Cup final in Oban. (Saturday 15th September)
The artists involved have created a series of artworks inspired by the contemporary culture and heritage of the iconic, indigenous sport. Over the past 12 months they have spent time getting to know the people involved in the clubs, from players to volunteers, to fans, and through them find out more about the sport, the club and its history.
Each artist has worked using a number of disciplines including; photography, linocut, screen printing, photogravure and knitting to capture and portray original artwork as a legacy to the clubs involved.
Artist, Tom Smith from Lateral North has been working with Beauly shinty club to develop an interactive artwork to showcase three stories at a local, national and international level which highlights the significance of shinty within the community. Through the use of augmented reality they aim to bring these compelling stories to life.
Perhaps the saddest story explores Beauly's team during the First World War. Regarded as perhaps the communities greatest ever team, Beauly shinty club won the Camanachd and Mactavish Cups in 1913, the first club to do that double.
The team was captained by Andrew Paterson and his brother Donald played along side him. Shortly after that great victory both brothers would leave for war and never return. The community and club was devastated by the loss, with 13 men from the village’s Ferry Road alone never returning home.
Donald, a great piper, was killed at the battle of Festubert where his blood stained pipes and a pipe tune were recovered. This tune named, ‘Beauly shinty club’ was thought to reminisce the 1913 victory.
A generation later the pipes how now been taken on by his nephew and renowned piper Duncan Macgillivary. These restored pipes have now been played around the world including Cocacabanna beach.
The work of the other artists working on the project include:
Roddy Buchanan (Fort William Shinty Club): Roddy is a Glasgow-based artist who exhibits his work nationally and internationally. Roddy was interested by the interaction of the players on the field and his work captures the moments when player lock in battle.
Deirdre Nelson (Newtonmore Camanachd): Deirdre often works with textiles, including projects based in Fair Isle and Shapinsay. Deirdre focussed on the community and the numbers involved at maintaining the club, both on and off the field. One of her findings was that there were more bakers than first team players which she has documented in screen print.
John McNaught (Skye Camanachd): John who grew up in Skye and is an artist working from Cromarty in the North of Scotland. He is a specialist in printmaking and photography, both freelance and as Studio Manager at Highland Print Studio in Inverness. He used mixed media print making to mark Skye Camanachd celebrating 125 years.
Alison McMenemy (Director, Highland Print Studio)
“This has been a great experience learning more about this unique sport. The level of commitment from shinty communities to running the clubs year on year is remarkable. These players play like professionals, to achieve and maintain that level of skill and fitness alongside a day job is truly impressive. These guys are true athletes!”
Steven Mackenzie (Communications Director, Camanachd Association; also Secretary, Beauly Shinty Club)
"We're really looking forward to seeing the artwork all in one place. I know the teams involved have enjoyed working with the artists and sharing stories of the clubs past. From a Beauly perspective working with Tom, who is a former Lovat player, has been a pleasure and we hope he has a better understanding and new found respect for his traditional rivals!"