Until 25 November 2018, Street Level Photoworks
This photo exhibition is a collaboration of two Scottish and two Canadian artists who exchanged residencies to discover new perspectives. This arrangement is detrimental to the major themes of the resulting works: heritage and migration. Each artist approaches the topic in their own manner with very different, yet fascinating outcomes.
The Québécois photographer Bertrand Carrière portraits young people in Glasgow and displays the next to Scottish scenery. His pictures have quite a raw feel to them, an urban vibe rather than glossy magazine photographs. They reflect the connection of young people and the country they live in without polishing the rough edges of Scottish life.
In the same room, Glaswegian artist Melanie Letoré presents one long row of smaller pictures, No You Without. She combines ordinary scenes and settings with unexpected elements, drawing attention to the extraordinary aspects of every day life. Unlike Carrière she does not show faces in her work. Yet the themes of identity and home can be felt quite strongly.
The collection Badda means the Sea by Josée Pednault plays with different sizes and combines prints leaned against the wall with framed, hung pieces. The motifs all surround water, with waves, fishing hooks and sea creatures. While most are photographs, she also includes chalk drawings that in their simplicity resemble children’s scribblings. All these pictures are inspired by the memories of a Somali refugee, Nasir S., who fled to Scotland. If the assembly of works seemed slightly random at first, with pictures overlapping, keeping that background in mind, they do resemble a private photo collection which makes sense in the context of their inspiration.
Finally, the Scottish photographer Matt Hay explores the Canadian cold as well as migration movements. He sometimes combines photography with charts and maps, plays with colours and black and white imagery. His works are a fascinating mix of ordinary and peculiar settings.
The entire exhibition shows an interesting roughness and feels just as open as the vast landscapes it contains. It evokes the feeling of being lost in the foggy, cold wilderness and found within the warmth of a home. While some visitors may discard the works as too simple and trivial, it pays off to dig deeper. The connections we make with a country and other people reverberate in all of these photos.
[Image credit: Isabelle Ribe]