Conceived by artists Nayan Kulkarni and Roxane Permar and comissioned by Shetland Arts, Mirrie Dancers was is a project through which the residents of Shetland participated in creating light based artworks at locations throughout the islands.

October 2012 - May 2013
Project Subject
Creating a 'festival of light' throughout the dark Shetland winter
National Theatre of Scotland
Shetland + Mareel

The project brought together people from all over the islands during an 18 month period creating artworks that brought light as a significant artform to Shetland for the first time. Light is a magic ingredient acting as a literal and symbolic beacon for our ambitions, for the community and for Mareel.

The project was in two parts; firstly inviting participation in creating temporary illuminations for ten buildings throughout Shetland on a rotating basis through the winter of 2009 – 2010 and offering a variety of creative activities and events across Shetland over twelve months, culminating in a 'festival of light'.

In the second part the lead artists worked with Shetland Lace Knitters to create a permanent internal installation at Mareel using Light and Shetland Lace.

These Lace and Light labs took place in locations throughout Shetland, with skilled knitters working with the lead artists, experimenting with a variety of materials, yarns and technical processes to make unique laceworks for interior projections.

Participants of the Light Labs made videos and translated them into light scores to illuminate the exterior of a local building for several weeks and launched at a public event. These illuminations took place across the islands over a six-month period, creating a 'festival of light' throughout the dark Shetland winter.

Under Northern Skies


A blood orange moon
scrapes over blackened peaks
on graceful arc towards morning.


Aquamarine sea horses
tumble over rocky fences
kissing yellow sand.


A golden beam of light
breaking cloud cover
turns sea to beaten silver.


Merrie dancers, jade and emerald
trip the light fantastic
through dead of winter.

James Sinclair
January 2010


Faith once flourished in these walls
to which Wesleyans walked
every week to worship
hoping to bring healing to hands
bruised by sheaves they brought in
for the harvest,
the tatties that they hocked up
from the dark rigs of the Ness,
the sea, too, that could scour flesh,
grind hard rock into sand.

They looked for light
that might
illuminate their suffering
and bring battered palms together,
soothing broken souls and skin
with the gentle balm of prayer.

Donald S Murray