This year, second year ASN students Alix Villanueva and Asma Almubarak were commissioned artworks for the Art Walk Porty 2017 in Portobello, which ran from Sept. 1st to the 10th.
Alix was one of the five artists to be commissioned to make pieces of public art for the festival. Her work consisted of a series of roadsigns that lined the Portobello Promenade, exploring the relationship between humans and seaweed.
“Tangle” is a visual walk through the mysterious, complex and historical relationship that humans have with seaweed. This relationship is a multi-facetted one, starting with linguistics. The word “tangle” in relation to seaweed has shifting definitions that are context-dependent, as the word is part of the Scottish oral tradition. This visually rich word comes to mean a number of things: the tangle of seaweed one finds on the shore, seaweed specimens of the Laminaria genus (kelp), but also more specifically the stems of the latter when they create thick knots upon the shore.
Mixing drawing, scan art, photography, collage and writing, Alix Villanueva created new images that explore this entangled relationship, one which is very historically significant to the people of Scotland.
She also took part in the exhibition set up in A447 gallery in Portobello, for which she collaborated with ASN graduate Alex Hackett on an artist book. The book, also entitled “Tangle,” is an assemblages of images and archival material, along with poetry written by Alex.
Their collaboration culminated in a couple of artist-led walks in which the two artists walked the audience through the artwork and onto the beach for a series of poetry readings. The walk was particularly focussed on the act of walking, place-making and eco-poetics.
Asma’s work was based on the bandstand on the Promenade. Her artwork emphasises the historical and geological importance of the area. It is conceptual representation that involves text and definitions to investigate meanings and natural connections between different cultures.
The artwork displayed the word “north sea” in three different ways: the ancient definition, the modern definition and the word in all the languages of the countries that are connected be the north sea. It also had the word Edge and its definition from the modern dictionary. This work explores the relationship between words and their meaning, comparing it with what is already there and what was there in the past. It emphasises the importance of ‘Edgelands’ and the importance of its location within the historical context. It also explores the wider connections between different cultures and countries that are connected by natural element, which is the ocean.