Clacharan

 

Thursday 24th May – Tuesday 5th June 2012

In May 2009, Scottish storyteller George W. Macpherson has been engaging in a project together with Swiss photographer Anja Tanner.

Funded by the Bernese Arts Council, they have travelled around the Isle of Skye from location to location for a period of two months, always on the traces of the sites in which George’s traditional stories and legends take place in.

The aim of their collaboration was to preserve a photographic image of these special sites where sometimes, a ruin is still present, and sometimes, only a scrap of cut stone lies covered with thick moss, hardly recognisable.

All these places have countless layers of stories and history covered beneath them. With the combination of photographs and audio documents, Macpherson and Tanner intend to build a bridge between the past and the
present, the simple landscape and its deeper meaning. They wish to transport a feel and open a window into the universe of Macpherson’s tales, and therefore the richness of traditional Scottish oral culture – hoping that maybe, some of the ancient knowledge and heritage can find it’s way back into the present people’s minds and hearts.

Both the photographs and the stories related to them were presented in a joint exhibition in the Botanical Gardens in Berne, Switzerland, in autumn 2009. The public response to the exhibition which was named «Clacharan (Stepping Stones)» – the symbolical bridge between the visible and the invisible world – was overwhelmingly positive, despite
the language bareer. A chord was struck with the audience, it seems, reminding them of their own identity and cultural heritage.

After the completed exhibition in Switzerland both Macpherson and Tanner knew they had only just scratched the surface by covering a handful of stories from the Isle of Skye. They would like to enlarge their selection of stories with more new work from Ardnamurchan, where George has spent much of his childhood and undertook his first steps in
storytelling. Moreover, a long-term project of assembling those stories and images within a book is on their minds.