Natural Bennachie 2014

The Year Of Natural Scotland was the perfect opportunity to celebrate our landscape, our history and our culture. Natural Bennachie brought together multi-media artists to work alongside specialists in the fields of archaeological and environmental sciences, the local community and industy, in order to better understand the heritage and oral histories surrounding our natural landscape.

Lorenzo Casali and Micol Roubini
Henry Coombes
Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva
~ in the fields

Curated by Emily Wyndham Gray

Project Partners
Forestry Commission Scotland
Bailies of Bennachie
Aberdeenshire Council Rangers
University of Aberdeen – Sir Duncan Rice Library, Special Collections and Museums

With thanks to
Dr. Edward Schofield, School of Geological Sciences, University of Aberdeen; Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University; Seventeen; Aberdeen City Council; David Blyth (Artist); Paul Cosgrove, Environmental Art, Glasgow School of Art.

Bennachie is among the best-known and most prominent mountain ranges in North East Scotland. Situated on the edge of the Cairngorm National Park and characterised by granite tors, open heather moor-land and woodland, it is home to a wide range of diverse habitats.

Collaborating across disciplines, backgrounds, methodologies and practices, the artists and project partners took up the exploration of What is Natural Bennachie? Through films, sound installation and site-specific performance, the work created engages with the natural phenomena, cultural heritage, anthropological investigations and geographical forms of this remarkable place.

Focusing on contemporary fine art practice, the artists drew inspiration from the hill itself as well as the people surrounding it. From working with the Bailies of Bennachie, a group of caretakers who have been looking after Bennachie over the last 40 years, to the Forestry Commission, Aberdeenshire Rangers and scientists at the University of Aberdeen, the artists have explored how this landmark has come to reside in the heart of those living and working around it.

The methodology for this project was an exploration of cross-discipline collaboration. With a focus of navigating the ‘natural’, each artist was commissioned to work within a particular medium and area. The outcomes were to encompass the field of contemporary visual art practice and the expanded field of sculpture, and to push the boundaries of contemporary practice within a rural community.

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