An exhibition based on the history of the Weisdale valley opens in the Bonhoga Gallery this weekend.
Shadowed Valley, the title of the exhibition, is taken from the book of the same name by John J. Graham, which was first published by the Shetland Publishing Company, Lerwick, in 1987.
It tells the harrowing tale of one family in Weisdale and how they and their extended community’s lives were decimated by the evictions and land clearances of the nineteenth century.
The artist Fraser Taylor, who conceived the exhibition, spent several months in the Booth at Scalloway between 2013 and 2014 as part of a sabbatical from his position as adjunct professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While in Shetland he found himself inspired by the largely treeless landscape, the shapes of the islands, black rock strata, and the shifting colours and light. These experiences informed his drawings which are on display in the lower gallery at Bonhoga, while the main space upstairs is showing a series of suspended textile works which form a response to the “Shadowed Valley”.
Taylor grew up in Scotland and studied at the Glasgow School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London. He is an interdisciplinary artist who works with a range of media including, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking and animation.
Alongside three other designers, Taylor set up The Cloth in 1983, a design studio that created work, over a four year period, for Yves Saint Laurent, Paul Smith and Spandau Ballet, as well as their own ready to wear collections which sold in Harrods and Liberty of London, among others.
Taylor’s work since has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, including Glasgow, London, Paris, Madrid, Sydney, Tokyo, Chicago, New York, Boston, Detroit, and San Francisco. More recently, collaborative work has included set and textile designs for the Baryshnikov Art Center.
Shetland Arts’ visual arts development officer, Clair Aldington said: “It is a privilege to be showing work at Bonhoga by such an eminent artist and designer as Fraser Taylor. The pieces have been specially created for the gallery space as well as reflecting the wider context and history of Weisdale.
“Fraser will be taking over all of Bonhoga for Shadowed Valley and so it promises to be a unique, immersive and unmissable experience for visitors to the gallery. Fraser will be in Shetland installing his show and will be leading a series of events about his work so please come along and meet him.”
The public opening will be from 6pm-7.30pm on Friday. Taylor will give a talk at 11am on Saturday and host a drawing workshop for all abilities on Sunday.