March 29, 6pm – Videoart Screening: Sekai Machache’s The Profound Divine Sky @ The Byre Theatre followed by Q&A with the artist
Profound Divine Sky (2021) is a short film by Sekai Machache, a Zimbabwean-Scottish visual artist and curator based in Glasgow.
The film was shot in the Flow Country of the Scottish Highlands, the site of a major ecological conservation project to revive the ecosystem of the peatlands in an effort to reduce carbon emissions.
Sekai utilises allegory and performance to communicate a complicated history through poesis and immersive storytelling. Through movement, and to the accompaniment of four original poems spoken by the artist, Sekai explores the ways in which Black bodies exist in rural landscapes, engaging with such themes as Scottish landscape, African metaphysics and cosmology, ritual practice, Celtic song, ritual performance, Gaidhlig language, and Black Scottish Identity. With videography and editing by Basharat Khan and score by Susannah Stark.
The St Andrews Centre for Contemporary Art is delighted to support Looking North.
Looking North – Alternatives Approaches to Landscape and Energy Ethics in Scotland is a series of in-person events and online talks. The first instalment stretches over two parts and started in August 2022. In the first round, we invited four artists from Scotland: Alex Boyd, Sekai Machache, Mhairi Killin, and Sophie Gerrard. In discussing their projects and thoughts, each speaker introduced us to various alternative ways of thinking about and engaging with conceptions of nature, landscape, and energy. By exploring the artists’ approaches and ideas, this talk series aims to move beyond mainstream narratives surrounding landscape and energy in Scotland which are often inextricably linked with extractive practices and exploitative dynamics between people and what is thought of as nature. Many believe that reframing our relationship to our surroundings and co-inhabitants should be at the very centre of environmental thought and change. Looking North hopes to contribute to this ongoing effort and dialogue.
In part two, we are delighted to welcome back each of our artist-speakers and pair them with a nature writer or scholar whose work has explored similar themes. We decided to opt for a two-part format to allow enough time for our speakers to engage in an unscripted and authentic dialogue. In doing so, we hope to cultivate a context in which a conversation can evolve that is stimulating not just to the audience, but the speakers themselves. This will be followed by a Q&A in which the audience has the opportunity to participate and ask questions. Conceptually, we believe wholeheartedly in the value of the potential that lies in between disciplines, walks of life, and variety in perspectives. We hope to apply a holistic approach to this project by bringing together the worlds of visual art, literature, and natural sciences as well as ecological conservation. In the beginning of each session, a representative of a chosen non-profit organisation with a direct link to that week’s central theme will share their work and practical, local approaches to our sometimes very theoretical questions.