Sunday, 21 December 2014

Shot at Dawn in Edinburgh - Art Exhibition

Whilst in a windy, slightly damp Edinburgh a couple of days ago, my friend's eye was caught by the statement " A dyslexic man walked into a bra ..." printed on an otherwise unremarkable window.

Naturally we walked over, and discovered that it was the venue for an art gallery. The current, free, exhibition was entitled "Shot at Dawn" by Chloe Dewe Mathews - we entered to have a look - if nothing else it would give us some respite from the rather strong winds.

We saw several large format pictures, which turned out to be photographs. Printed alongside each was a name, or names, a date, then below that another date and time. No explanation was printed as to the subject matter, which varied from a splendid solitary tree in morning mist, to a modern looking school. We decided that the photographs must have been "shot at dawn", hence the title of the exhibition.

As we walked around, examining the photographs a chill went down my spine, and I became certain that the photographs were of sites where soldiers were literally shot at dawn, and that these must be shots of how the areas look nowadays. I was proved correct. We viewed the images with a different intensity.

We spoke to one of the curators, who explained that the artist, Chloe, researched the deaths of several soldiers and over a couple of years spent time visiting various sites of execution to take photographs of the modern site, trying to replicate the time of day and the weather conditions.

Although chilling, there is hope in the photographs, too - the new school built for children who may not exist without the sacrifice of the soldiers, and whose lives would certainly be different, for example.

If you are in Edinburgh before the 25th January, do go and spend some time at Stills, Cockburn St, Edinburgh. The exhibition is also on in London at the moment, and then tours Europe for a couple of years.