An Lanntair and Acair launch new retrospective and book celebrating the work of Lewis born artist Donald Smith

  • Published on: 13th June 2019
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MEDIA RELEASE – 13 June 2019
For immediate release

An Lanntair and Acair launch new retrospective and book celebrating the work of Lewis born artist Donald Smith

Born in rural Lewis in 1926, Donald John Smith was – wrote Gray’s School of Art Principal Ian Fleming in 1958 – ‘the outstanding student of his year … unquestionably a man of great ability as an artist.” He would go on to be exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy, Society of Scottish Artists, Aberdeen Artists, An Lanntair and elsewhere. His painting acknowledged movements in Europe and America, but remained resolutely local in its subject. From his studio on the West Side of Lewis from 1974 to his death in 2014, his intense, lyrical images of Island fishermen and women celebrate the indomitability of the human spirit. A landmark exhibition.

Accompanying the show is ‘Donald Smith, The Paintings of an Islander’, published by Acair. Richly illustrated with drawings, paintings and portraits, along with insightful essays in Gaelic and English.

An Lanntair Head of Visual Arts & Literature Roddy Murray said “Donald Smith’s art was – literally – drawn from the community he was born into. He imbued his paintings of fishermen, herring girls and crofters with the respect working people deserved but were seldom afforded. In which sense he was political. Never sentimental or romantic, always radical. Powerful yet understated, a vital chronicler, interpreter and champion of the islands of his time.”

Agnes Rennie, Manager of Acair said:
“It’s been a real privilege to work with Donald Smith’s family and close friends to make this unique book a reality. Donald’s work spoke for a way of life now mostly gone but the landscape he recreated on canvas still lives on”



Preview: Friday 5th July 2019, 5pm -8pm

Exhibition opens: 6 July – 17 August 2019
Notes to Editor
An Lanntair is a hub for creativity and the arts in the Outer Hebrides. Its work stretches across a national and international platform, with a mission “to connect and inspire people in producing extraordinary, creative programmes, uniquely rooted in the place and reflecting the arts and ideas of our time”.

We are supported by Creative Scotland, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Point & Sandwick Trust.

For more on An Lanntair visit – or contact Kathryn Lamont Smith, Head of Marketing at 01851708480 or