Macduff Revival is a contemporary art, heritage and food project whose name refers to ‘a renewal’ or ‘improvement in fortunes’. The programme included two artists commissions Macduff Loaf artist Katy Stewart, and ‘Scratching the Surface’ artist Alicja Rogalska. The artists were invited to spend time getting to know Macduff and the community, as well as taking part in events such such as Kitchen Talks.
The new artworks were sited in and around the town in empty shops and at the Macduff Arts Centre during the Macduff Revival Weekender alongside the art works produced by the New Producers Programme, a associated project funded by Year of the Young Person 2018.
The project was devised for Macduff and as part of Fieldshare. It is kindly supported by Regeneration Funds from Aberdeenshire Council. Anna Vermehren and Tessa J Fitzjohn are Independent Producers based in Aberdeenshire and Bristol.
Scratching the surface Installation and durational performance artist Alicja Rogalska
Scratch cards epitomise scarcity of wealth, and hope to break the cycle of poverty. They are also one of the more substantial sources of arts funding in the UK (in 2016-17 £266m of arts funding came from The National Lottery): a culture tax on the poor, in a way. However most arts activities happen in big cities and are directed at the more affluent sectors of the population.
A derelict shop was covered with silver scratch card paint, and residents were invited to scratch the inside of the shop out to find a sequence of symbols and win a cash prize. In order to get a chance to enter the competition, they were asked to contribute to a pool of ideas for the future of Macduff which were displayed in the shop window on a scrolling LED-display screen.
Scratching The Surface was an interactive participatory art work aimed to reflect on and discuss the state of the local economy, and try to collectively imagine a better future, both in terms of practical solutions and more creative outputs.
Macduff Loaf artist Katy Stewart
Katy sourced a 25kg bag of local organic wheat from a farm near Macduff and travelled with it to the nearest operating mill, Golspie Mill in Sutherland, talking with farmers, bakers, homemakers, people who used to work the land and in the mills on the way.
Her wheat was ground into a Macduff flour and brought back to Macduff, to share and bake with people she has meet in the community. Katy is interested in hearing stories on the changing regional industry, memories of farming and milling in earlier times; she gathers recipes and techniques for bread making and documents her experience. She has led a bread making workshop with the local community using the flour to produce a new recipe of Macduff loaf, a new unique bread for the town.
Katy has been sharing her journey and her experiences at the Macduff Revival Weekender. Her exhibition contained a map of her journey, a documentary film of the interviews she did with regional producers and farmers, a text that explained her work, bags of flour for people to take away, and an installation of three types of bread following the same recipe but using different types of flour. Exhibition visitors were encouraged to take a bag of flour and make a Macduff Loaf in their own kitchen. Short films to be included in the future.