Arts project boost from lottery fund

A project planned by Shetland Arts has been awarded £165,000 by the Scottish Arts Council’s Lottery Inspire Fund.

Mirrie Dancers, conceived by artists Nayan Kulkarni and Roxanne Permar, fuses traditional crafts with new techologies. Through the project Shetlanders will help create light-based artwork in their own areas but also a permanent set of art installations in the new cinema and music venue Mareel.

Mirrie Dancers was one of just 11 successful projects included in the £3 million overall investment, out of 400 national submissions to the fund.

Shetland Arts development manager Kathy Hubbard said: “To be part of the National Inspire suite of projects is an accolade for Shetland, and a testament to the quality of the two lead artists. We are one of only two areas in the Highlands and Islands that have been selected, and we are all looking forward to realising what is a very ambitious project.”

Light is the key element in the project, bringing people together to share common experience and generate collective memories.

The first part of the project invites everyone to participate in creating temporary illuminations for 10 buildings throughout Shetland on a rotating basis through the winter of 2009-10. It will offer a variety of creative activities and events over 12 months, culminating in a Festival of Light.

In the second part of the project the artists will work with Shetland lace knitters to create a permanent internal installation at Mareel using light and Shetland lace.

The artists have been working on the project after being commissioned by Shetland Arts to make public art for Mareel using the medium of light.

Shetland-based Ms Permar is a founder member of Veer North, the Shetland Visual Artists Group. She has worked in the field of public art since 1990 in a variety of media that respond to the history, community and culture of a location.

Mr Kulharni works across media and disciplines and his practice engages with ideas of place, with work that uses light, photography, architectural form and video.

Ms Permar said: “It is a magic ingredient that enables us to see what is familiar in a new way. In this project it will become a literal and symbolic beacon for our ambitions for the community and for Mareel.”

Ms Hubbard said she was grateful for the support received during the development phase of the project from a wide range of individuals and organisations.

She said: “Roxane and Nayan spent a lot of time travelling all over Shetland speaking to people who might be interested in Mirrie Dancers. The response they received was overwhelmingly positive, and Shetland Arts would like to thank everyone who has helped get the project this far. If you would like to become involved get in touch with us.”

Ms Hubbard can be contacted on (01595) 743843 or by e-mail at


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