Earlier this week, we blogged about our current exhibition, one which showcases our many collections of poetry from around the world. Today, we announce our next exhibition; Pencil Lines. We’re delighted that the artist Joyce Gunn Cairns will be exhibiting her drawings of Scottish poets. Images of the following artists will include:
Stewart Conn (see below)
Christine de Luca (see below)
The musician John Sampson will accompany the poets.
The launch event is on Wednesday 15 May from 6pm. As well as an early opportunity to see the portraits and meet the artist there will readings from many of the poets featured. The poets reading are Alan Spence, Magi Gibson, Christine De Luca, Stewart Conn, Ron Butlin, Bashabi Fraser, Colin Herd, Valerie Gillis and Joy Hendry.
Ahead of the exhibition, Gunn Cairns explained her fascination with drawing poets.
‘I began drawing poets 34 years ago when I approached the poet Tom Scott for a sitting after hearing a rendition of his lovely tribute to Joan Eardley. Literature and especially poetry has since childhood been a central influence in my life .
‘Since drawing Tom I have continued to draw writers and poets on a regular basis. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery holds a collection of drawings of some of the writers and poets who have given me sittings; those in their ownership include studies of Edwin Morgan (currently on exhibit), Richard Holloway, David Daiches, Tessa Ransford, Kathleen Jamie (see above) and Joy Hendry.
‘It has been a privilege to meet and draw the poets represented here. Some drawings are more successful than others . I’ve tried to understand what underlies a more or less successful drawing and I’ve come to no satisfactory conclusion. It may, however, be significant that the best head drawing I have ever done is of Edwin Morgan, a drawing made shortly before his death when I had the experience of being with someone who no longer had anything to defend. In other words, he drew himself!
‘With much gratitude to the great panoply of writers and poets who have given me their time over many years.’
Pencil Lines – Edinburgh Makars and Other Scottish Poets begins on Wednesday, 15 May at the SPL.