There is an amazing exhibition at the moment at The Whitworth Art Gallery called The Land Between Us. It takes a radical look at landscape art by placing traditional or older artwork next to contemporary pieces. With the exhibition is a booklet containing responses to the artwork. I was asked to respond to one of Donovan Wylie’s photographs of the British Watchtowers in South Armagh, which was hung next to a watercolour by Turner of Conway Castle. Two striking images of British imperealism from two different centuries. Before I wrote the piece I went to The Whitworth and the curator Mary Griffiths took my down into the vault where they store the artwork. The Wylie photo had not yet arrived, so I had a private viewing of Turner’s watercolour. This was very exciting. I would have liked to have written something about the Turner painting, but I was drawn to the more contemporary setting of Wylie’s work.
My response, called ‘My Sangar’ was written from the viewpoint of a woman under surveillance. It begins: ‘It was a while ago now, when it was anchored on the hilltop; that green-plated scaffold. I tell you, it hurts my eyes.’
For more on the exhibition go to: http://thelandbetweenus.wordpress.com/