Sunday 14 April 2024
 5.9°C   W Moderate Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Letters / Has Shetland Arts lost its way?

Shetland Arts once had a thriving visual arts scene. But where is it now?

It had a gallery that artists, both national and international, were keen to show work in. There was once a commitment to a regular Open exhibition (once upon a time called the Bonhoga Open and very popular) with the focus on local input, but that is no more…even before Covid.

The Bonhoga Gallery itself used to be a magnet for the visual arts of all kinds…. but that seems to have vanished into some kind of shop and an arts space encompassing applied arts and crafts or occasionally some fine art but seeming to have no particular direction.

The quality of the creative arts in these isles is excellent in all its forms and deserves better exposure but currently fine art has been edged out.

Mareel has never had a suitable exhibition space either. Even the balcony above the cafe is under used and fails as an exhibition area.

As a creative artist I feel that Shetland Arts has little commitment to visual art. The younger artists coming through from Shetland College or returning to the isles to establish their artistic career are being poorly served by this seeming lack of interest in promoting any form of fine art.

They can’t easily see the exhibitions that appear in other Scottish venues and it appears that Shetland Arts does nothing to encourage them or try to compensate.

Where are the inspiring exhibitions of art from home and abroad that were a feature many years ago?

While the focus may be on a future arts hub in the old AHS site (and even that has gone quiet) it doesn’t address the situation at present.

I think it’s ironic, and rather significant, that the best visual arts venue in Shetland at present is Da Gadderie in the museum run by the amenity trust, while Shetland Arts peddle second hand paint and old tools.

And I know that it’s not just the visual arts where this lack of commitment is felt.

Are the trustees aware of the situation and the misgivings of many in the creative arts sector locally that Shetland Arts has lost its way?

Peter Davis
Wester Skeld

Categories

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.