TWO Scotland-based artists are embarking on an ambitious residency project with the Edinburgh Mela Festival through an innovative 15-month artist residency programme that will connect artists and community groups with Scotland’s natural environments.
The two artists selected for the ‘Shared Territories’ residency programme are visual artist, Rocca Gutteridge, and performance artist, Adura Onashile.
They will work with hard-to-reach groups and minority ethnic communities, creatively exploring Scotland’s natural environments using this as an inspiration for developing their work.
The two artists will visit forests, lochs, hills and green areas around where people live across central Scotland with the groups.
The visits will explore responses to natural environments and will be used by the artists as an inspiration for the creation of their work.
This artist in residence project seeks to encourage a deepening appreciation of Scotland’s natural environment; its use and sustainability.
There will be a presentation of work by the artists at the Edinburgh Mela Festival in September.
Commenting on the ambitious residency project, Stephen Stenning, Edinburgh Mela director, said: “The opportunity for Edinburgh Mela to work with and give a platform to showcase talented and innovative artists such as Adura and Rocca is truly exciting.
“The work they will undertake during the residency promises to further enhance Edinburgh Mela’s reputation as a producer of stimulating high quality art involving local communities.
“I am thankful to all partners involved for giving us the opportunity to work with the local communities on this programme, and help to extend our work beyond the Festival itself.”
The artist residencies are being supported by Creative Scotland’s pARTners programme which aims to provide high quality participation in the arts for hard to reach groups.
The project is also being supported by a grant from Scottish Natural Heritage.
Anne Petrie, development officer for Creative Scotland, said: “Shared Territories is an exciting opportunity for culturally diverse communities to explore Scotland’s natural environment with Rocco and Adura as their creative guides.
“Creative Scotland’s partnership with the Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage offers an unique opportunity to learn more about Scotland’s natural sustainability in an exhilarating setting.
“Edinburgh Mela will offer an excellent showcase for the work and provide both artists with an opportunity to engage with an international audience.”
Romena Huq, engagement officer for Forestry Commission Scotland, said: “Forestry Commission Scotland are excited to be part of this project and increasing the opportunities for more people to access woodlands and forests.”
John O’Keefe, Scottish Natural Heritage’s access officer for the Lothians, said: “This is a great opportunity for people to explore their local green spaces with artists who can inspire people to look closely at nature.”
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