2008 CARGO 1

CARGO1 was a sailing, touring exhibition which I initiated and curated, travelling around the west coast of Scotland

The exhibition included drawings and portable works by eight contemporary artists: Myself, Veronica Lussier, Andrea Roe, Dalziel + Scullion, Kenny Hunter, Ilana Halperin, Jessica Lloyd Jones, Catriona Murray and accompanied by text from Holly Lockie.

‘CARGO’ is a project which I started in 2008 with CARGO1 . With it I aim to exhibit and develop travelling contemporary exhibitions and artist’s opportunities by boat. CARGO1, was group show, which set sail at the beginning of August 2008 from Ullapool after a successful week long début exhibition in an talla solais Ullapool Visual Arts from the 25th of July till the 1st of August.

CARGO1 then went on to exhibit in Skye, in The Skye Gathering Hall in Portree, and from there across to the Outer Isles where it was exhibited in Taigh Chearsabhagh, Loch Maddy, North Uist, from the 2nd till the 10th of September.

The vessel which took this maiden exhibition was a 1926 wooden Bermudan Cutter: ‘Maureen’. This is a boat Dan and I have owned since 2003. The work was housed and transported in boxes aboard the boat, and unpacked and hung/set-up in the various venues along the way.
The exhibition locations and venues were pre-arranged with others developing on route as the show progressed, the route was therefore flexible and unfolding according to both the weather and other opportunities which arose.
CARGO1 is sponsored by Edinburgh College of Art and The Hope Scott Trust, Promoting Music and the Visual Arts in Scotland.

Seeds on the Wind
When Charlotte Watters first contacted Taigh Chearsabhagh to propose mooring up in Lochmaddy with CARGO1, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew a little of her own work and admired what I had seen, but at that stage it was unclear what the exhibition would comprise of.
It should have been obvious that others from all over Scotland would find her unusual proposal very interesting indeed and that artists invited to submit work would be jumping at the chance to contribute to the endeavour.
Not only were the contributing artists of the very highest standard, including the upper echelons of contemporary artists currently practising in Scotland, the individual works were powerful in themselves, from Ilana Halperin’s ‘Memories of Geology’ and Veronica Lussier’s ‘Nomadic Package’ to Kenny Hunter’s quirky ‘Out on the Rolling Sea’.
The whole formed a subtle, understated yet engaging and thought-provoking exhibition, truly greater than the sum of its parts. CARGO1 encapsulated the ethos of “packing lightly” and offered up questions, and focussed attention, on our relationship with the environment.
The concept of a travelling gallery on a sailing boat fits sublimely with the current economics and ecology of the west coast of Scotland. The costs of transportation by road (and ferry) throughout the region are high, and as was done in times past when the land was a barrier, the sea provides the means to link and make central that which, from a mainland/central belt perspective, appears as the periphery.
As island and coastal communities, where culture is rooted deeply in the land and the sea, take stock of potential climate change and rising sea levels, what better means to distribute and disseminate the artists’ imagination than sail power – like seeds on the wind.

Andy Mackinnon
Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre, Isle of North Uist

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