In 2004 I spent a year working in Port Glasgow, the world centre for shipbuilding fifty years ago, now a town facing economic decline. The result of this stay was a beautifully produced coffee table-style book. Conceived as a symbolic gift and unavailable commercially, the book was delivered uniquely to each of the 8000 households in the community by the local boys football club. Rather than having a public artwork imposed upon them, the Portonians received a document of their lives and of their participation as both the hosts and protagonists of an artistic experiment.
'Newborn Lamb' and the film 'Fancy Pictures' were commissioned for an exhibition at Mount Stuart, on the Isle of Bute, in 2008. 'I was fascinated by the context; the triangular relationship between Mount Stuart Trust, the artist, and the community on the island. When you look at the history of painting, the notion that a commissioned art work can look objectively at the relationship between a land-owning commissioner, and those who work the land, seems contentious, and thus a fertile position to explore. This involved engaging, over a sustained period, with a closely knit, working community, and giving substantial authorial control back to it, as both the subject and primary audience. As with the photograph 'Newborn Lamb', the film draws on the mystical relationship between people and animals on the Isle to create an elegiac fantasy.'
- Artwork Details: running time: 18 minutes
- Edition: Ed 1 of 5
- Material description: 16mm film
- Credit line: © the artist
- Medium: Film and Audio Visual
- Accession number: ACC12/2009