Each week we will be bringing you news, blogs, and updates from An Lanntair and the Outer Hebrides.
This week Laura Maynard, whose exhibition Wave Migration opens at An Lanntair on Friday 5 April. describes what it’s been like to put the show together….
It has been a crazy week. It is nearly two years since An Lanntair accepted my proposal to create an exhibition based on surf culture in Lewis and the opening night is next Friday. Where has that time gone and how am I going to get everything done in time? Framing? Nearly. Press release? Check. Labels? No……
It seems like yesterday that I made the decision to reduce my days as an art teacher, going to four days a week as well as building my studio in the back garden. It was the best decision I ever made but once I had space to work and time to do it, I had to think of the art I wanted to create. I experimented with materials and played around with concepts but I kept coming back to my love of waves, the coast and imagery associated with my passion of surfing – the turquoise blues, sea birds, the shape of the waves but also the people and the lifestyle.
One of my favourite things about surfing in Lewis is the days when everyone hangs out at the beach. This involves: looking at the waves … a lot; talking about the surf…. a lot; and standing around vans drinking tea.
It is also at these times that you hear brilliant stories of past adventures, hilarious mishaps and snippets of how people have ended up here on Lewis. I have always been in awe of how well travelled so many of the surfers are, their ability to seek out adventure and live life to the full while also dealing with the unexpected and sometimes fairly major obstacles that life seems determined to throw in their way. I’ve yet to have the opportunity to travel far and wide – perhaps this is why I love hearing the surfers’ stories. What is it that made so many of these surfers choose to stay or come to Lewis in the first place? Why here and not another surfing paradise in warmer climates?
These questions underpin the exhibition. I have tried to tell the stories of 15 surfers and how they came to be part of Lewis’s small, friendly, close knit surf community. This is by no means all of the surfers as there are now nearly 40 on the island, all with equally interesting stories, but there are only so many hours in the day and a deadline to meet. (Eeek did I mention that this was next week? Can you tell I’m a bit stressed?)
It has been a massive but amazing learning curve putting together this exhibition but I cannot wait to see it all come together alongside Jim Hope’s film and photographs and Mark Lumsden’s hand crafted, bespoke surf boards. It will be a night of saying thank you to so many people ….. but before I get there I must go and tick another few things off the rather scary and long to do list!
Wave Migration is at An Lanntair from 6 April to 7 May. The exhibition opening is at 5pm on Friday 5 April and is open to the public.