'Ice and Feathers', an exhibition inspired by climate change and migratory birds, featuring a video projection onto a large sheet of ice, has been unveiled at a Scottish nature reserve. Faileas, at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Reserve at Caerlaverock in Dumfries and Galloway, includes an interactive site-specific sound walk, a video installation and a live performance.
The reserve, on internationally important wetlands on the Solway Firth, are only just above sea level. Increased flooding, higher rainfall, tidal surges and other effects of climate change mean the wetlands and some of the species that depend on them, such as Whooper Swans, Greenland White Fronted Geese and Ospreys, are at risk. The exhibition is the result of a residency at the site by Angela Alexander-Lloyd, a Kinross-based visual artist specialising in sound and video.
Whooper Swans by Alex Hillier
The first of a series of residencies being awarded under the three-year Artful Migration initiative, this is a collaboration between Upland Arts Development CIC, Ginnie Wollaston of Moving Souls Dance and WWT. It aims to use the arts to raise awareness of issues concerning climate change and migratory species.
Angela, a former City stockbroker, is keen for as many people as possible to engage in the debate about the environment. She believes that encouraging people to realise the implications for Scotland and their own regions will help bring home the scale of damage and losses predicted to take place if the drivers of climate change goes unchecked. She says, “Increasing climate extremes mean there is a very real threat to landscapes like these and the wildlife that lives there. This exhibition is about raising awareness and encouraging debate about the effects of climate change on the natural world and what we can do, collectively and individually, to make a positive difference.”
One piece of work involves a video projection onto a 2m sheet of ice containing thousands of wild bird feathers collected on WWT land. The sound 'walk' allows people to listen to recordings by environment professionals and local people about their experiences. One instantly recognisable voice is that of naturalist and WWT Vice President, Sir David Attenborough, who discusses the impact of human activity in a changing and fragile environment.
Brian Morrell, Centre Manager at the WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, explains, "The wetlands of the Solway Firth are of international importance, and their conservation is an essential part of our work to try to safeguard the future of wonderful species that migrate to southern Scotland like Whooper Swans, Greenland White Fronted Geese and Ospreys. This exhibition underlines that climate change is not simply a concern for other people in countries far away, but that its effects are here and now.”
It is hoped that Artful Migration will not only encourage debate but also attract visitors to Caerlaverock. Amy Marletta, Projects Director at Upland Arts Development, said: “It’s a real pleasure to see the first of the Artful Migration residencies come to fruition with such and interesting and thought-provoking exhibition. But one of the things that makes it so valuable is that it’s a three year project which will provide a series of artists with a platform to explore environmental issues in their own ways. By emphasising migratory species, it will underline that our wildlife - and our wider environment - are interconnected and that action to protect them has to be local and global.”
The exhibition is open from the 29th April - 31st of August, at WWT Caerlaverock Eastpark Farm. The reserve is open daily fom 10am - 5pm, and the exhibition will be open over the Spring Fling weekend (26th -28th of May). Angela will be onsite to talk to visitors about her work on Saturday, 26th of May, from 10am - 5pm. Free entry with the Spring Fling 2018 brochure.
For more information, visit: www.weareupland.com