TWO Highland-based artists are to launch their biggest installation to date as part of a community arts project in Invergordon. Fin Macrae and Alister MacInnes, collectively known as DUFI, were commissioned as part of Invergordon off the Wall’s ‘Evolution’ project.
DUFI worked over the past 18 months with various groups in the Invergordon community including St. Josephs RC Church, Rosskeen Free Church, the Polish Memorial group and the wider Polish community. The result is the sculptural installation ‘Foundations’ at the west entrance to Invergordon.
‘Foundations’ stands eight metres in height. A timber and stainless steel structure, it echoes Invergordon’s industrial heritage and carries words gathered from the community in English, Polish and Gaelic. With a newly-planted rowan tree at the heart of the sculpture, the artwork will constantly change with seasons, and as the tree itself grows the branches will encompass the structure.
The underlying concept behind Foundations is that of people being very settled in the town, rooted in Invergordon, with a deep sense of belonging. This was expressed by many participants – not least through one response to the question ‘What is a Gael?’ prompting the reply, “Someone who is grounded – rooted and connected to the land.”.
‘Foundations’ forms one of three art works which make up ‘Evolution’ and all are to be launched at an event on Friday 16 November. The celebrations begin opposite Linear Park, Invergordon at 3.00 pm with a short performance by the Invergordon Youth Theatre (IYT).
Alan White from Invergordon off the Wall, commented: “Evolution could not have happened without the support and involvement of the people of Invergordon. They helped write the brief.
”Our artists, including Fin and Al, have worked with and been inspired by the local community. This includes church groups, pupils in Invergordon Academy and primary schools, young adults from the Calman Trust and user groups from the Isobel Rhind Centre.
“It was the first time that many had had an opportunity to get involved in the arts. The resulting artworks are something that they can all take pride in as having played a very real part in the artistic process.”
DUFI’s ambitions to grow are supported by working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). One of the initiatives run by the agency helped them secure the Invergordon project back in 2010. Quantity Surveying and History of Art graduate John Sherlock joined them through the TalentScotland graduate placement scheme.
His business support helped DUFI secure one of the three exciting innovative pieces of 3D public art for the town, with the others awarded to Glasgow based sculptor Del Whitticase and Dundee-based sculptors Roddy Mathieson and Kevin Blackwell of the Mobile Foundry.
‘Channel’ is a bronze bench installed in the Natal Garden, made entirely in Invergordon by Roddy and Kevin of the Mobile Foundry. ‘Bubblefield’ is a light sculpture by Del Whitticase in the grounds of the Invergordon Community Hospital.
Al from DUFI commented: “As creatives we identified the need for a “manager” who could find work and programme events for us. Having Jonny freed up a lot of time that we would have spent on the organisation of the business.”
Jeni Oliver of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “The TalentScotland placement programmes provide graduates with an opportunity to get valuable experience with companies working on specific projects. This gives them practical, hands on experience to help them in their future careers. DUFI have a strong background in community-led art projects, not least managing the hotel art works as part of the £6 million John O’Groats redevelopment. We are delighted to support Fin and Al identify first class opportunities to match their creative skills.”
Previous projects undertaken by DUFI include Rough Cut Nation at Scottish National Portrait Gallery (2009) and then at Stirling Jail (2012), and Street texts as part of Inverness Streetscape (2007-2009).