A programme of events and activities celebrating the area’s rich culture, heritage and environment starts this month as a local arts organisation launches its summer programme celebrating Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters.
It culminates with the arrival of a giant puppet on the Moray Coast. Storm is an impressive 10 metres tall, with bright blue eyes and kelpie hair.
From July to September these events, organised by Findhorn Bay Arts, are set in the rural and coastal towns and villages of the Moray Coast, including Findhorn, Culbin, Burghead.
July and August
Take a walk along the coast and find out about the rich and varied ecology, geological history, landscapes and diverse wildlife of Moray’s coast with naturalist expert Eleanor Foster from local environmental education charity Wild Things, and Findhorn Bay Arts’ artist Rachael Forbes.
Walks take place in Spey Bay, Garmouth, Findhorn, Culbin, Burghead and Cummingston, where the guides will bring about a deep sensory awareness to the sounds, sights, and smells around you whilst on your coastal walk.
Experience a colourful, kinetic artwork floating on the River Findhorn with WaterOrgan, designed by artist Mark Zygadlo’s from Dumfries and Galloway.
A pipe organ on the deck of a catamaran is pumped by a paddlewheel driven by the river’s flow, as it gathers data from the river through a series of electronic sensors and processes it into sound sequences played in real-time by the organ.
This installation will be at the River Findhorn at Logie Steading from 24 to 31 July, then at Findhorn Pier on 1 August. You can also hear the artist in conversation with local environmental and conservation experts on Thursday 29 July on the River Findhorn.
From Friday 6 to Sunday 8 August, Findhorn Bay Arts’ artists-in-residence, Coleman & Hodges, present an evocative interactive installation of images and sound from a collective capturing of time and place from across Moray and including Cullen, Burghead, Forres and Elgin.
This marks the culmination of their residency with Findhorn Bay Arts. Over winter, the artists worked with 75 local residents across Moray to install pinhole cameras in their houses and gardens, each of which took a single long exposure image over four months. These beautiful images capture both the landscape and the sun’s journey across the sky as the Earth turns, a reminder that everything we see, however still or monumental, is in motion, both through space and through time. There will be accompanying audio of the participants’ thoughts and feelings during that time. The results are breathtaking and form a powerful collective memory.
On Sunday 12 September, performance art company Oceanallover present Ecdysis (In Vivo), an hour-long visual poetry performance and music event involving dancers, musicians, and sculptural costume. An Oceanallover collaboration with the legendary MC Sgt Pokes, it is provocative and inclusive, experimental and uncompromising. The performance features live vocals from Pokes and Breezy Lee with costume by Dumfries and Galloway based artist and performance maker Alex Rigg in collaboration with the unique couturier, Mr Pearl.
Oceanallover will be on a walkabout as part of the Nairn Book and Arts Festival the day before, visit www.nairnfestival.co.uk for more information.
And finally, Edinburgh-based Vision Mechanics makes a welcome return to Moray with STORM on Saturday 11 September in Burghead. From the makers of Big Man Walking and Drift comes a folklore giant made real. STORM lives in the waters around Scotland.
In Moray, she will walk on land to tell the story of the oceans in crisis.
Giant puppet, STORM at 10m tall, has eyes the colour of oyster shells, with hair of thick strands of kelp and a voice like the chorus of the waves. She will walk into Burghead and gaze down upon both the beauty and the mess strewn at her feet. STORM is a new feat of mechanical mastery from Vision Mechanics. You can also catch STORM on Sunday 12 September in Nairn as part of the Nairn Book and Arts Festival.
High street shop
From Thursday 8 July, Findhorn Bay Arts will also be opening its summer mini-market shop. Open three days a week throughout the summer (Thursday and Friday 10am-4pm; Saturday 10 am to 2 pm), the mini-market shop will be selling the very best fresh and organic produce from local growers and producers, including fresh and organic produce, speciality foods, homemade cakes and bakes, flowers, plants, chutney, jams, eco crafts and daily lunch takeaway specials, in addition to tickets for Source to Sea events.
Kresanna Aigner, Creative Director, Findhorn Bay Arts said: “We are finally able to announce details of Source to Sea, our long-awaited celebration of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21. With something for all ages to enjoy, Source to Sea is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and appreciate Moray’s rich culture, heritage, and environment. Above all, we want to ensure that all these events can be enjoyed in a Covid-safe way, so please keep an eye on our website and social media for all the latest updates, tickets, registration and information”
Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said: “I am delighted that Findhorn Bay Arts are running the ‘Source to Sea’ programme of events through the summer, celebrating Moray’s Coasts and Waters and giving people the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate Moray’s culture and heritage.
“We are assisting the programme by providing £27,000 in funding to Findhorn Bay Arts, through the Year of Coasts and Waters Open Events Fund. This funding will help towards the re-opening of our culture sector, a vital part of our recovery from the pandemic and ensures that local organisations, businesses and artists are at the heart of it.”