An Talla Mor in spotlight

The lively history of one of Sleat’s most popular halls comes into the spotlight tonight, thanks to a resident artist.

Rachel Schmidt is the current visual artist in residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and presents This is Your Life, An Talla Mòr, at the eponymous hall tonight at 7.30pm.

Working in collaboration with sound engineer Hector MacInnes and artist Caitlin MacKenzie, Rachel will use music, video and prizes to take her audience on a journey through the imagined life of the Talla Mòr.

Rachel, who is on a three-month residence through the Royal Scottish Academy, was awarded the John Schueler scholarship over 14,000 applicants.

Originally from Kansas, Rachel lives in Washington DC where she is a textile artist and sculptor.

She said: “As an artist, I am interested in exploring perspectives of climate change on the environment on both sides of the world. Scotland has a powerful relationship with its landscape and a strong creative culture. I wanted to explore this in my art practice.

“I decided to do something that was project based and spent a large amount of time taking video footage and photographs on Skye with a view to turning this into a whole new body of artwork to explore living in this landscape.”

Rachel’s project, however, took an unexpected turn when she first set foot into An Talla Mòr.

She said: “It was love at first sight! I love the energy of the hall and the way it has housed and held so many different events over the years. I see it as a beautiful sight of pilgrimage and, the more I hear about the building, the more I see how special it is. Turning the focus of the project on a community hall is also a good way of thanking that community for my time here.”

Tonight features a unique evening of fun and involves video, music and games to take audiences on an imagined journey through the life of the hall.

Rachel explained: “Some of the information is based on history and some on my interpretation of the power and resonance of the environment.

“Expect gift bags, interactive video installation, music and a raffle. Come with an open mind, a sense of fun and expect to learn about the history of this wonderful building.”

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig arts development officer, Kath MacLeod, said: “Rachel has produced a very interesting contemporary take on environmental art which has been drawn by people and place. As an environmental artist, she came to this area because of its wealth of artistic activity, culture and language.

“This is very much a contemporary art installation and not a simple history of a hall. We are delighted to have welcomed Rachel as our seventh artist in residence and hope people will come out and support her tonight.

Entry is by donation, and proceeds will go to SEALL’s Festival of Small Halls, taking place in November. A limited number of spaces are available for tonight’s show and can be reserved from HERE.