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For the first time during the Tall Ships’ Races in 2011, there was an artist in residence and her work is about to go on tour in the UK and Norway.

The touring exhibition has been formed from work created by artist Imi Maufe as a result of a two-part residency. The first part was sea based, onboard the Swan, a 1900 Shetland based herring drifter, during the Tall Ships’ Races (June – August 2011). The second part, a land based month (August – September 2011), at Taigh Chearsabhagh in North Uist and with Shetland Arts in Shetland.

Imi Maufe, a UK artist based in Norway, was appointed to the LK243 UnderSail residency through a formal selection process.

As well as being the resident artist, Imi Maufe was also a crew member onboard the Swan, involving herself in all activities on board and at each port. Imi’s bed and working space was in the boat’s main cabin in one of the larger wooden bunks (2.14m x 60cm x 80cm) screened by a curtain.

The exhibition is touring in the Bunk Box, which was created to fit at the end of the bunk used by Imi for the duration of the voyage, as a storage unit. It was designed so that it can be transported by the Swan or by more conventional means to each of the host galleries for the tour.

The LK243 UnderSail exhibition is being co-ordinated by Shetland Arts and will tour to galleries in the UK and Norway between April 2012 and April 2013. Imi’s work can be viewed as a handling collection direct from the box or displayed, as an exploded body of work, in a gallery space. The exhibition tour commences in Ullapool at the end of April, from where it will go to North Uist, Bergen, Newcastle and finally, return to Shetland at the end of the year.

Clair Aldington, Visual Arts Development Officer at Shetland Arts, said: “It has been a huge privilege over the last 3 years to work with the Swan Trust and Taigh Chearsabhagh in developing the LK243 UnderSail residency and to see it come to fruition in such an amazing way. Imi’s creativity and the work she has produced is a beautiful recollection and accounting of a voyage and a unique experience. We are grateful to the funders, Creative Scotland, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and Scotland’s Islands for making this project possible.”

During her residency, Imi came into contact with over 1,500,000 Tall Ships’ Races visitors, crews from 32 different countries, and 70 vessels from 13 different countries.

Artist in residence, Imi Maufe, on board the Swan during the Tall Ships’ Races 2011.

As artist in residence Imi Maufe, described: “The time on the Swan has been an amazing experience; challenging, calming, exciting, funny and unforgettable. Being part of the crew that took us from Waterford all the way to Halmstad, sharing the boat with 45 different people along the way has taught me about myself and about the art of living with strangers in small spaces. There have been hard moments and wonderful moments. Over 500 drawings of boats have been collected during the harbour visits, 43 wooden postcards have been cast in the sea and six placed in postboxes. I don’t feel like I have sat still for more than ten minutes at a time. This has not only been a sailing adventure, but also one of discovering the local life and culture in each port, and also what the tall ship’s races are really about, and that isn’t just about sailing, but this huge scale international movement for young people! (and all the older ones that make it happen).”

Peter Campbell of the Swan Trust said of the residency: “Having an artist aboard has proved to be a new experience for the Trust.  It has demonstrated how a residency can be successfully operated within the confines of the Swan. The residency generated considerable interest in the vessel in each port visited and as an organisation the Swan Trust has gained greater recognition for its sail training activities.  The presence of an artist in residence was considered an innovative way in which to generate interest in sail training and was a contributing factor in the Swan Trust being awarded the Sail Training Organisation of the Year trophy at the annual conference of Sail Training International in Toulon, France in November 2011. The project has resulted in the artist printing a set of curtains for the Swan’s bunks which will act as a talking point for future sailors.’”

LK243 UnderSail is an exhibition that aims to capture the moments, the adventure and the ordinary and extraordinary events that took place en route.

For more information see:

The residency was organised by a partnership between Shetland Arts, an arts development agency based in Lerwick, Shetland (; Taigh Chearsabhagh, a museum and arts centre in Lochmaddy on the island of North Uist, Scotland (, and the Swan Trust (, a Shetland based charity which owns and operates the former herring drifter the Swan as a sail training vessel.  The project title, LK243 UnderSail, derives from the original port registration number of the Swan.

The LK243 UnderSail residency and exhibition was made possible by two funders. Firstly, Scotland’s Islands, as part of a year long celebration of Scotland’s Islands and their culture. Secondly, Creative Scotland with Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s Scottish Islands’ Project (, which aims to enable the development of ambitious new work of national and international significance involving the arts centres in six Scottish islands – Lewis, North Uist, Mull, Skye, Shetland, Orkney.


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