By John MacLean, 03/11/14:
At the end of October I photographed the four-day Faclan Book Festival at An Lanntair, Stornoway. This event has run annually since 2006, and since 2011 in its current Halloween slot.
The theme this year was “The Past is a Foreign Country” and included the launch of Ian Stephen’s first novel A Book of Death and Fish, an account of Dolina MacLennan’s early years, friendships and influences in her book An Island Girl’s Journey, and Robert MacFarlane in conversation with Finlay MacLeod about his multi-award winning book The Old Ways.
The festival opened with Peter Urpeth playing a live piano accompaniment to Theodore Dreyer’s classic 1928 film “The Passion of Joan of Arc” and closed with a Club Night collaboration between piper/singer/songwriter Iain Morrison and New Delhi based audio-visual club act B.L.O.T.
By John MacLean, 05/10/11:
Editing lots of images today from Moira MacLean’s exhibition Buisneachd: Witchcraft, Sorcery, Enchantment showing at An Lanntair. Some of my finished photographs can be viewed in the downloadable exhibition catalogue at the link below.
(PDF file, 6.6 MB, pages 9 to 24).
The exhibition runs up to and into the supernaturally-themed Faclan Hebridean Book Festival at the end of October.
The Outer Hebrides are saturated in tradition, custom and folklore, drawing on Irish (Gaelic) culture, Scandinavian (Viking) influence and all parts between. An island, a village, a house can be a crucible for beliefs and practices, where culture grows as on a Petri dish.
Moira Maclean is from Lewis and is an MFA graduate from Grays School of Art, Aberdeen. She has immersed herself in the past by ‘raiding’ the abandoned croft houses of the Islands to explore issues of dereliction, decay, transience and diaspora, notably from a female, domestic perspective.
‘Buisneachd’ focuses and assembles these ideas. It is about the home, the hearth, the earth and the ether. Rescued domestic detritus, mirrors, bibles, maternal paraphernalia, accretions of wallpaper and images of abandoned spaces insinuate unseen forces and malign influences.