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17 Apr 2018

Climate change and migratory birds inspire art exhibition at Caerlaverock

Posted in All

Faileas will include an interactive site-specific sound walk, a live performance and an installation featuring a video projection onto a large sheet of ice containing thousands of feathers, collected on WWT reserves.

The reserve is located on internationally important wetlands on the Solway Firth that are just above sea level. Increased flooding, higher rainfall, tidal surges and other effects of climate change mean the wetlands, and some of the species that depend on them such as whooper swans, Greenland white fronted geese and ospreys, are at risk.

The architect of the show, Kinross-based visual artist Angela Alexander-Lloyd specialises in sound and video.

It is the first of a series of residencies supported by the three-year Artful Migration initiative that aims to use the arts to raise awareness of issues related to climate change and migratory species.

Brian Morrell, Centre Manager at WWT Caerlaverock, said:

“The wetlands of the Solway Firth are of international importance, and their conservation is an essential part of our work to try to safeguard the future of wonderful species that migrate to southern Scotland like whooper swans, Greenland white fronted geese and ospreys.

“This exhibition underlines that climate change is not simply a concern for other people in countries far away, but that its effects are here and now.”

Angela, a former city stockbroker, is keen for as many people as possible to engage in the debate about the environment.

She believes that encouraging people to realise the implications for Scotland and their own regions will help bring home the scale of damage and losses predicted to take place if the drivers of climate change goes unchecked.

She said:

“Increasing climate extremes mean there is a very real threat to landscapes like these and the wildlife that lives there.

“This exhibition is about raising awareness and encouraging debate about the effects of climate change on the natural world and what we can do, collectively and individually, to make a positive difference.”

The event is a collaboration between WWT, Upland Arts Development CIC and Ginnie Wollaston of Moving Souls Dance. It aims to use the arts to raise awareness of issues to do with climate change and migratory species.

Amongst the voices that can be heard on the sound walk is the instantly recognisable tone of naturalist and WWT Vice President, Sir David Attenborough, who discusses the impact of human activity in a changing and fragile environment.

Among the other contributors to Angela’s work is Sheila Stubbs, a retired music teacher known by many as ‘the swan lady’ who spends her winter days at the reserve where she has developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of the whoopers.

Sheila, who lives outside Dumfries, has written a piece of mandolin music inspired by the swans which will be included in a video Angela is making of her live performance which takes place during a special event on April 28. She said:

“I love the swans, they are such beautiful birds, and I’ve got to know them and their family groups over the years.

“Paisley and Renfrew are two of my favourites, they are now over 20 years old and have raised an amazing 46 cygnets. Every year I hope that they will make it safely back to Caerlaverock from Iceland.”

Amy Marletta, Projects Director at Upland Arts Development, added:

“It’s a real pleasure to see the first of the Artful Migration residencies come to fruition with such an interesting and thought-provoking exhibition.

“But one of the things that makes it so valuable is that it’s a three year project which will provide a series of artists with a platform to explore environmental issues in their own ways.

“And by emphasising migratory species it will underline that our wildlife, and our wider environment, are interconnected and that action to protect them has to be local and global.”

The exhibition opens to the public on 29 April.