Anniversary exhibition for Bonhoga

The Bonhoga Gallery at Weisdale Mill is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
The Bonhoga Gallery at Weisdale Mill is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Opening this weekend, the new exhibition at Bonhoga Gallery is a celebration of both the 20th anniversary of the gallery and the history of its home, the Weisdale Mill.

Since its construction in the 1850s the building has gone from meal and barley mill, to butchery and tannery, to art gallery, shop and cafe.

Since 1994 it has been welcoming large numbers of both Shetland residents and visitors to the isles with a year-round exhibition programme of contemporary visual art and craft.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary, Shetland Arts has curated an exhibition of work by 20 artists, one selected from each year of the gallery’s exhibition programme from 1994-2014.

Bonhoga means “my spiritual home” in Shetland dialect and this is reflected in the show of work from local, national and international artists who have all been connected to the gallery over the last 20 years.

The artists have each been commissioned to create a new work, using as a starting point an object relating to the gallery’s history, location or physicality.

These items have been chosen by the curators with each of the artist’s work in mind, with the aim of creating a body of new work to creatively reflect the mill’s history and celebrate its features.

Exhibitions officer and co-curator Jane Matthews said: “We wanted to give a special focus to the gallery’s anniversary exhibition, and the idea of creating new work using the gallery and the building as the subject matter seemed very fitting.

“Each of the 20 artists has responded to the object they were given in a completely different way, and it is fascinating to see what they have come up with and why.

“Everyone is welcome to come to the opening on Saturday and enjoy a glass of bubbly to celebrate 20 years of Bonhoga.”

An exhibition catalogue and history of the mill has been produced to coincide with the show, with support from Shetland Transport.

Local writer and artist Ria Moncrieff was commissioned to write a history of the building, which has had a varied and often dramatic past. Poet Christine DeLuca also contributed with a celebratory poem.

The exhibition runs until 7th September, concurrent with work in the lower gallery by recipients of the Shetland Arts Visual Art & Craft Awards, and a short film on the stairwell presented by the Shetland Moving Image Archive.



Add Your Comment
  • Ivan Coghill

    • July 22nd, 2014 17:26

    Bonhoga is nothing but middle class faffing and is a waste of public money. See “Friends of Bonhoga” on Facebook for an alternative viewpoint.

  • stephen shirmer

    • July 23rd, 2014 11:30

    What can you say : a rather expensive folly for a few like minded folk, I wonder what the public of Shetland would think if they new the wage bill for a few staff, plus the up-keep of the building !

    There is plenty of good crofting folk about there who would love to put the building to good use.

  • Robert Duncan

    • July 23rd, 2014 12:00

    What a shame to see such negative views of an important component of the local arts scene.

    My core concern with the Bonhoga Gallery is that it is almost entirely inaccessible without private transport. Despite generally excellent bus links in Shetland, I don’t believe it is possible for somebody without a car to visit the gallery due to opening times.

    A gallery based somewhere more accessible could be more self sustaining (not that I believe Bonhoga is subsidised to the extent suggested above).

  • fraser cluness

    • July 24th, 2014 10:16

    they arew nothing in bonhoga that couldnt move into mareel now its up and ‘going’ for one the cafe might improve if the bonhoga cafe staff moved into the toon. mareel has lots of white walls with nothing on that could do with something – anything. Apart from the cafe bonhoga is a waste of money, space and wages for the high paid managment, managment that shetland arts have to many off. time to cut back and at least get one of the arts buildings making money


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