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Shetland Arts is pleased to announce the two artists awarded the international residency/exhibition opportunity through X-CHANGE, a partnership between Shetland Arts and the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas.

X-CHANGE is funded by The British Council and Creative Scotland with support from Art Fund (UK) and Association of Art Museum Curators (US). It provides the opportunity for two artists, one from Shetland and one from Texas, to research and explore these two distinct geographies in the context of energy production and climate change. The project, that includes a one-month residency for each artist in the other’s location, will culminate in a body of digital work to coincide with COP26, the UN climate change conference in Glasgow this November.

The two selected artists are Shetland based filmmaker and writer Shona Main, and Texas-based conceptual artist, Holly Veselka.

Shona’s recent work has led her to the Canadian Arctic where she has been researching the life and practice of 20th century filmmaker Jenny Gilbertson.

To be able to work across Scotland and Texas at a time when our worlds have shrunk is a well-timed and welcome opportunity and I am so glad Shetland Arts and McNay Art Museum in San Antonio are making this happen. Learning I have been partnered with Holly Veselka has already drawn me into another realm of thinking, and I am so looking forward to seeing and learning from her as she explores energy production using her distinctive way of looking at - and making with - the micro and the macro.

We have only ever experienced the extraction - or extractivism – of resources as conceived and realised by the patriarchy and enabled by capitalism. Asking what if women were the ones who had created the ideas, language and realities of power, resources and industry? I would like to seek out and listen to some of the unheard voices of Shetland women and Native American women in the hope of revealing a new possibility - a different way of looking and thinking about how we can power our lives. (Shona Main)

Holly Veselka creates moving image work, digital archives and installations exploring humanity’s relationship with the natural world. She often uses laser and infrared scanning, and aims to use these processes to explore the natural and industrial landscape of Shetland during her residency later this year.

I'm so excited about this collaboration between Shetland Arts and the McNay Art Museum… During the exchange, my project will consider how global networks link disparate ecologies. I will use images recorded with emerging technologies to focus on global systems of energy production and climate action. I'm looking forward to collaborating with Shona Main and sharing our experiences. (Holly Veselka)

We’re really excited about the value of this international partnership with the McNay. Given Shetland’s long relationship with the extraction economy, and our wind-farm-future ahead of us, I’m particularly interested to see what Holly and Shona create, to feed into the vital conversation about the climate emergency. (Jane Matthews, Exhibition Manager at Shetland Arts)


Updates on the project will be published here.


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