Molly Forbes: Paradise
I wouldnae ken where to start... All this attention makes me feel like a celebrity and I’m nae. I’m just an ordinary person. I live in Paradise, my home in Menie, but it’s feeling less like Paradise these days. [ read more ]
Mike & Sheila Forbes: Mill of Menie
I’ve stayed here for 43 year, if I didn’t like the place I wouldn’t have stayed so long. Ma history is doon here. All ma relations come fae roon aboot here & there’s nothing mare magical than Menie. [ read more ]
David Milne: Hermit Point
It was when the proposals came in to sacrifice the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) that the whole thing really kicked off for me. That was when I took a better look at what was meant to be the trade off and found there wasn’t one. [ read more ]
Moira Milne: Hermit Point
The actual destruction of this area was brought home to me one day when bulldozers arrived and ripped out the young wood directly in front of my home, that’s the patch of earth behind me in the picture. [ read more ]
John Munro: Leyton Cottage
I’m a man of few words. We aren’t ragged trousered philanthropists here.
Susan Munro: Leyton Cottage
My family and I have lived in Leyton Cottage for nearly three decades. This is where we brought up our two boys Murdo and Finlay. We’ve expanded our home over the years. [ read more ]
“…they walked beside the ocean of the end and the beginning”
- George Mackay Brown, 1994
There has been much speculation and hyperbole in the news and media over the Menie Estate residents’ protest against Donald Trump’s planned golf course, most of it celebrating the rebellious ‘local hero’ who will not budge, the Scottish ‘David’ who stands tough in the face of an American ‘Goliath’, or, as Vanity Fair put it, the ‘thistle’ versus the ‘bee’ (May 2008). This exhibition does something different.
Alicia Bruce’s photographic portraiture retells the stories of the Menie residents, not to monumentalize or misrepresent them but in order to fix their message more securely in the cultural imagination. By restaging compositions from celebrated paintings (the majority of them in the permanent collection of the local Aberdeen Art Gallery), Bruce eloquently carves out the residents’ place in Scottish heritage. Without over-romanticizing, these photographs play on a history of national mythology. These families will not be intimidated, neither by far-away business nor next door construction site. They will not be bribed or bought out. Whatever side you stand on over this issue, their stance demands to be respected rather than patronized.
The source paintings were hand selected by the Menie residents. These paintings are all figurative, many of them portraits or pastoral images of workers in a Pre-Raphaelite or Glasgow Boys style. This choice of aesthetic has influenced Bruce’s photographic compositions, and helps ground her sitters squarely in their own landscape.
Text: Dr Catriona McAra, University of Glasgow. 2010