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Opening on 26 July, the new exhibition at Bonhoga Gallery is a celebration of both the 20th anniversary of the gallery and the history of its home, the Weisdale Mill.

Since its construction in the 1850s the building has gone from meal and barley mill, to butchery and tannery, to art gallery, shop and café. Since 1994 it has been welcoming large numbers of both Shetland residents and visitors to the Isles with a year-round exhibition programme of contemporary visual art and craft.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Bonhoga Gallery, Shetland Arts has curated an exhibition of work by 20 artists, one selected from each year of the gallery’s exhibition programme from 1994-2014. Bonhoga means ‘my spiritual home’ in Shetland dialect and this is reflected in the show of work from local, national and international artists who have all been connected to the gallery over the last twenty years.

Bonhoga, photo by Chloe Garrick
Bonhoga, photo by Chloe Garrick

The 20 artists have each been commissioned to create a new work, using as a starting point an object relating to the gallery’s history, location or physicality. These items have been chosen by the curators with each of the artist’s work in mind, with the aim of creating a body of new work to creatively reflect the Mill’s history and celebrate its features.

Jane Matthews, Exhibitions Officer and co-curator of the exhibition explains: “We wanted to give a special focus to the gallery’s anniversary exhibition, and the idea of creating new work using the gallery and the building as the subject matter seemed very fitting. Each of the 20 artists has responded to the object they were given in a completely different way, and it is fascinating to see what they have come up with and why. Everyone is welcome to come to the opening on Saturday and enjoy a glass of bubbly to celebrate 20 years of Bonhoga.”

An exhibition catalogue and history of the Mill has been produced to coincide with the show, with support from Shetland Transport. Local writer and artist Ria Moncrieff was commissioned to write a history of the building, which has had a varied and often dramatic past. Poet Christine de Luca also contributed with a celebratory poem.

The exhibition runs until 7 September, concurrent with work in the lower gallery by recipients of the Shetland Arts Visual Art & Craft Awards, and a short film on the stairwell presented by the Shetland Moving Image Archive.

The Public Opening of the exhibition takes place on Saturday 26 July, 11am – 1pm and is free to attend. The exhibition runs from 26 July to 7 September 2014 and is free to attend.

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