Grounded exhibition finds the Hebridean links to Aboriginal Australia

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An upcoming exhibit in an Lanntair showcases the surprising similarities found between the Outer Hebrides and the Central Australian Deserts.

Grounded, an exhibition by artist Judith Parrott, juxtaposes the Gaelic culture of the Outer Hebrides with the Wangkangurru, Arrarnta and Arrernte Aboriginal culture.

Judith uses sets of paired photographic prints, audio-visual presentations, sound and poetic prose in the display, which will open at an Lanntair on Saturday, September 13th.

The exhibition is the result of Judith’s residencies in the Western Isles and with Australian Aboriginal communities in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Judith said of the exhibit: “It’s about the importance of being connected to place and culture and language.

“It’s about people being aware of sense of place, realising the importance of it and understanding the effects when people are displaced.

“People probably don’t realise that in Australian aboriginal communities there has been the banning of languages in the same way that Gaelic was banned. There are surprising similarities.

“Of course the weather doesn’t compare, but in Australian aboriginal cultures the connection to the land is really intrinsic; the people and the land are very much one. All indigenous people have that important connection to land and that’s been lost in modern society.”

Judith’s work for this exhibition can be traced back to her work for her ‘Place Matters’ series that she began in 2002.

She has since been working between Scotland and Australia, and has gone as far afield as Antarctica in her study of cultures.

Judy said: “In the series I have always used sense of place. I linked that sense with sensory, and did my first exhibits using all 5 senses. In the first one I had things that people could touch and smell and even some bits for them to taste.”

The Grounded exhibit was launched at Festival 2014 XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and following the same route of The Games, which will be hosted by Australia in 2018, the exhibit will go on to tour Australia next year.

An Lanntair’s Head of Visual Art, Roddy Murray, said: “Cross-cultural exhibitions don’t often come as diverse as this. At first sight there is little ‘common ground’, ethnic or otherwise between Australian aboriginal communities and the Gaidhealtachd. They are quite literally on opposite sides and hemispheres of the planet. So the deep connections through the experience of our shared humanity in this exhibition are a real revelation. It’s the kind of insight and perspective that only art can give you.”