Masks, myths and magic cast spell at gallery

Alternative perspectives on humanity’s response to the environmental crisis are the focus of a new University exhibition.

Masks, myths and magic cast spell at gallery
Image © Neil Hanna

Astonishing ceremonial masks, echoing the ancient traditions of an irrepressible First Nations people from Canada, are among the highlights of Pine’s Eye at the Talbot Rice Gallery.

The 15 masks, created by an artist from the Kwakwaka’wakw community of Canada’s Pacific coast, will be displayed alongside the work of 11 other contemporary artists.

The creations, by Hereditary Chief Alan Hunt, represent characters from a ceremony called the Atlakim – or ‘Dance of the Forest Spirits’.

Guiding spirits

It is the tale of a boy who gets lost in the woods and is visited by guiding spirits who teach him virtues.

Pine’s Eye takes its name from the much-loved tale Pinocchio – the Italian for ‘pine eye’ or ‘kernel’. It explores what it means to be human in times of ecological change.

Featuring work inspired by indigenous peoples around the world, the exhibition offers perspectives on how we understand ourselves in the face of environmental crisis.

Resisting change

Pine’s Eye also creates a story about the resistance of people to modernisation.

Included in the exhibition is a huge mural by New York artist Johanna Unzueta, inspired by Mayan women weavers in Mexico, and complex pagan-like sculptures by South Korean artist Haegue Yang,

The show also features work by Firelei Báez, Beau Dick, Laurent Grasso, Torsten Lauschmann, Ana Mendieta, Kevin Mooney, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Taryn Simon and Lois Weinberger.

Unique performance

Members of the Kwakwaka’wakw took part in a performance of the Atlakim ceremony at the University’s St Cecilia’s Hall on 25 February.

It was the first performance of its kind to take place outside of Canada. Masks worn in the performance will be on display in Pine’s Eye.

The exhibition is supported by Creative Scotland, Edinburgh College of Art, Henry Moore Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts and High Commission of Canada to the United Kingdom.

Talbot Rice

The public art gallery of the University, the Talbot Rice Gallery presents original and relevant exhibitions within a unique historical context.

The exhibitions exemplify creativity and ambition, seen through a distinctive programme of Scottish and International artists, with informed interpretation and lively educational events.

Pine’s Eye runs from 29 February – 9 May at Talbot Rice Gallery, Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm.

Related Links

Talbot Rice Gallery