"Art makes nothing happen in a way that makes something happen ..."
It's one of George's mother's subverts .. see p232 in Ali Smith's How to be both"
It's published by Penguin and won the 2014 Saltire Society Book of the Year Award. It's inspiration was the creation of a Francesco del Cossa's mural in the 15th century and our current era fascination by George's late mother.
So why reference it here, and that phrase in particular?
Five copies of Ali Smith's brilliant novel have just been gifted to our White Van Teams that have returned from their adventures taking the Diaspora Tapestry 1700 miles to Bergen, driving the artwork 1800 miles back via Veere, then an empty van back to The Pans. The occasion was the latest Friends' Celebration at The Gothenburg, and future plans of adventure were unveiled! Dare you to follow this ....
It's been the embroidery renaissance arising from stitching the Prestonpans Tapestry in 2010, telling Bonnie Prince Charlie's 1745 tale, that exemplifies Mother's subvert.
'Nothing happened; except that nothing was already making things happen' .... long before it was completed amongst our stitchers across Scotland. They saw their art [or is embroidery a craft?] in a wholly new light. They were being invited and at once volunteering to tell an epic national story. They socialised with stitchers across the nation in creating something not only spectacular in itself but with a lifespan well into the future. They were meeting in groups, eating pastries and making new friends regardless of social and economic walks of life.
It was already happening at the Launch on The Greenhills in two marquees at Prestonpans in July 2010. Hundreds came from across Scotland to enjoy their creation and to carry their designer Andrew Crummy shoulder high, and to sing as the pipes played and to entertain one another. Bottles were played and theatre recaptured Napoleon's Empire days in Paris as he was mocked in vaudeville for his pretensions when the Bayeux Tapestry was displayed in Paris.
And now there was a completed artwork, its proud display could take place in all the communities across Scotland that had stitched their panels retelling their moment of the Prince's tale. And the received wisdom was to carry the art back to the various communities on the same dates as the Prince had gone in 1745, starting with his landing in Eriskay [St Nazaire in France had to wait a little longer as did Bayeux, its inspiration!]
Now stitched, our 'next' arising 'diaspora' artwork designed by Andrew Crummy [below right with the SNP's newly elected East Lothian MP, George Kerevan and his wife] is seeing one adventure after another across the globe ... with air freight replacing white vans much of the while ...
Indeed it is. Thus far, Norway and The Netherlands. For August and September it's Italy. Then October in Paris. And then down-under to Goolwa, Adelaide, Hobart, Melbourne, Albury, Sydney, Brisbane .. and just today Otago New Zealand said: Yes please. All this before we share with North America and back to London, and a Grand Homecoming to Scotland and involvement with our schools. That's 2017, when VisitScotland has already announced a Year of History and Heritage ...and Archaeology.
P.S. Be advised, The Art of Narrative Embroidery by Rosemary Farmer and Maggie Ferguson [seated left below], is flying off the shelves. They're watching and enthused ... it's a delight. Available @ the Online Boutique
Asked if one can be proud of what has been created, the answer must be it's scarcely been shared yet. There's a million visitors yet to delight ... or subvert!
If you'd like to venture too, or more, get in touch and share and help others share ... there's a choice of 34 countries around the globe including Antarctica and Tristan da Cunha where Scots and their descendants, and the strictly envious, wish to see and enjoy .....
Published Date: July 8th 2015