SHALE PEOPLE TRAIL // DEGEULLO: ARTS COUNCIL FUNDED PERMANENT PUBLIC ART PROJECT

Mike Inglis (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

Abstract

Arts council funded narrative street installation : West Lothian : Installed April 2011.

In an area where I’m trying to get people to express their inner fears and ways of coping, the very hesitant retired mining community of broxburn found it difficult to express themselves with words. They don't want to, cant even begin to explain their feelings and no amount of prodding from me could ever get them to do so. Where their feelings do pour out however, where the community can partake of this rich emotional vein, is through the band. Broxburn & Livingston Brass Band to be exact. I’ve combined images of the band playing (in off duty clothes /as civilians) with textures in the clothing which link to pattern making that is extracted from shale – the contours of the lands, the ridges of the shale itself and the rich fossil life that is compressed between its layers. The textures link to the shale and the mines but also visualise the sound.

I’m combining the textures to create broxburns own version of a mariachi band - my tribute to the inner life they protect and witnessed in their playing at the band practice during a fantastically rousing version of ‘The March of Zorro’ which moved me tremendously, and truly revealed their life, their soul and their absolute survival spirit. The project on one level examines the rich links between people and place, however it also seeks to raise questions about existence in a very subtle way.

Degüello (slit throat) means ‘beheading’ or, idiomatically, ‘no quarter’ as in ‘no surrender' to be given or accepted-a fight to the death. Traditionally it was played by the mexican army to their opposition as a mark of respect prior to battle but also to signify no mercy will be shown. Something of the stoic nature of the Scots and the hard lives many experience seems to chime with this philosophy. This is the core concept driving my part of the shale people trail in Broxburn and Uphall, West Lothian. A prophetic title it turned out as the installation was almost completely destroyed over one crazed weekend by a tiny minority of rage filled "residents". Thankfully due to a fantastic and supportive response from the manufacturers of the figures, the sign company of Kirkcaldy, we were able to re-install and so far the figures continue to survive.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherScottish Arts Council
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2011

Keywords

  • public acceptance

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