Reimagine: an exhibition of work by participants on the New Scots creative arts residency in Perthshire.

Nestled away in the Perthshire countryside, people who have sought sanctuary in Scotland have been taking part in a creative arts project run by the Bield at Blackruthven. We visited their residency earlier this year.

This month, the group has come back together to exhibit their work. The exhibition will run until 20th October.

Liz Crichton, Art Facilitator and Pastoral Team Member at Bield at Blackruthven, shared her experience of working with the artists.

The artists who have been taking part in our residency came back together at the beginning of October for an exhibition. This was a wonderful celebration of their work, and of their success and determination to restart their lives in this new country, separated from their families, despite what was happening in their homeland.

Each artist was asked to write about their work. Their statements spoke of the way in which through making art they have been able to express themselves better, how painting helps to ‘bring calm’ when difficult things are happening, and some work was an expression of the welcome and sense of safety that they have felt since arriving in Scotland.

A beautiful costume made by Kseniia is about finding ‘courage’ in adversity and being ‘brave’.  Other artists spoke of how the creative process had been a transformative experience, about moving from a sense of hopelessness to a more hopeful and romantic mood. For Valentyna, their work helped them to identify “what limits myself to move forward with my life” and subsequently being able to make drawings “created by her heart”. Another artist, Bilal wrote that his “art reflects the impact of displacement and the discovery of new horizons. It fosters a sense of connection and empathy across borders”.

All of these statements demonstrate just how far the artists have come since we last met with them in February, both in their confidence in their work, and their ability to articulate what is happening for them in their creative process.

The exhibition has been well received by our visitors, who have described it as “poignant and beautiful”, “inspirational and thought provoking”, “impressive and emotional”.  It is clear from the comments written, that it has fostered a deeper empathy among the local population for those who are displaced, their hardships, struggles and bravery.

The exhibition will conclude on Thursday 19th October with a playback theatre performance, to formally recognise and honour all that has happened and the transformations that have taken place. The relationships made will continue long beyond the conclusion of this formal part of the programme.

The New Scots Creative Artists Residency was funded by the Reaching New Scots Fund, developed in partnership with the National Lottery Community Fund.
Chris Afuakwah
Author: Chris Afuakwah