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Get set for unique final year Fine Arts show

Date: 19 May 2022

Students have started constructing the exhibition space for their final year show.

UHI Final year artworks go on show at Orkney College for first time in three years


Welcome return to in person exhibition of ‘exceptional and experimental’ works by Fine Art students


Orkney arts enthusiasts will be treated to a degree show of the highest calibre, when final year BA Fine Art students at Orkney College UHI show their works in June.

Showcasing the work of five final year students, ‘Conversations’ will be the first Degree Show open to the public since 2019, as shows went digital during the pandemic.

But students have packed a powerful return to real life displays, with themes such as female identity, body image, communication and environment running through the works.
Curriculum Leader for Arts and at Orkney College UHI, Anne Bevan, says the public are in for a unique experience:

“The work of the artists represented is all very different and individual, but all are working through large scale installations with themes that are embedded in the landscape and communities of Orkney.

“Our Fine Arts students gain a really wide range of experience through their course, not only with the specialist expertise we offer in Orkney, but tutors across the UHI network and with internationally renowned visiting artists. They are supported to pursue their interests fully and gain exposure to new ideas and specialisms while they are with us.

“As a result, our students’ work consistently receives strong reviews and the praise of examiners – indeed last year’s graduate received a whole raft of awards, including being selected for the prestigious Royal Scottish Academy New Contemporaries exhibition. We have a great mix of locally based students and students who have specifically moved to Orkney to study here, on the basis of the quality learning environment and opportunities we provide.

“It’s so exciting to have this exhibition back in real life after it all being online, and back for an extended period of time – the show will be on over two Saturdays this year.

“The students have shown such resilience and determination to keep working through the pandemic, so we really hope people will come along and show their support but also take full advantage and experience for themselves a wonderfully creative and experimental show.”

Cordelia Underhill is Course Leader in Orkney and has been working closely with the students throughout their degree: “In terms of a physical install of a degree show after nearly three years of being impossible, these students are ahead of the game. Their work is of a high standard, very individual and innovative. The themes range in inspiration from deeply personal histories to committed engagement with the landscapes of Orkney. The work is current and on par with global contemporary art at the same time as being relevant and pertinent to the local community and its concerns here.”

The students exhibiting are:

  • Sue Whittingham – Sue is from Hoy and took on her Fine Arts degree after also studying textiles at Orkney College. She now works with installations using found objects to explore the kinetic landscape and themes of environment including her local area in Lyness, rich with wartime architecture and history.
  • Jamilla Garrett commutes from Egilsay to attend the College. Her work delves into the topics of ancestry and feminism, exploring the idea of ‘invisible women’ and how the female experience has been ignored in accepted histories, through an installation drawing on retro imagery.
  • Wendy Barker has a professional background in textiles and has also studied the specialism at Orkney College – her work in the degree show explores the movement and otherworldly nature of the seas, through video installation.
  • Vicki Redpath-Watson. After a career in politics, Vicki made a big change of direction to study art in Orkney, firstly on the NC, then full time on the BA Fine Art. The work she’ll be showing has evolved from a series of monoprints created from impressions of her body on paper and other surfaces.
  • Sophie Macdonald moved to Orkney to study her final year, from Glasgow School of Art. Visitors to the show will experience her sculpture and performance installation, which draws inspiration from local myths and landscapes, through creative use of materials from latex to seaweed.

The show will be open to the public from 11-24 June (Monday to Saturday 12 – 5pm; Wednesdays 12-7pm).

The first day of the Fine Arts Degree Show coincides with a wider Orkney College UHI event aimed at students considering studying there. The event will be offering tasters, information sessions, tours and other attractions, celebrating the fact Orkney College UHI is able to welcome visitors again. Find out more about the event at https://www.orkney.uhi.ac.uk/studying-at-oc/whats-on/

This year’s degree show will also be available digitally again via a wider UHI collaboration with the campuses in Orkney, Shetland, North Uist and Moray, opening the show up to a keen international audience discovered and strengthened over the past two years of online exhibitions. Keep an eye on Orkney College UHI social media for updates.

The Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art (BA Fine Art) at Orkney College UHI can be undertaken full time or part time. To find out more and to apply, visit www.uhi.ac.uk/en/courses/ba-hons-fine-art/, or contact the course leader Cordelia Underhill to discuss.

Orkney College UHI also offers highly popular Masters courses – the MA Contemporary Art and Archaeology and MA Art and Social Practice. These online courses are available for graduates with a BA to study - and currently around 80 students from across the world are enrolled.

  • Summary:

    Orkney arts enthusiasts will be treated to a degree show of the highest calibre, when final year BA Fine Art students at Orkney College show their works in June - the first degree show to be attended by the public in three years.

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