Alex Flett; 1996, a Celtic Odyssey.
In late 1995 I was invited by the MacLaurin Gallery in Ayr to create a show called Celtic Odyssey. This invite gave me the opportunity to explore the roots of Scotland, and in doing so I could start building sculpture, something I had not attempted since 1969.
Below left: Cover of the Celtic Odyssey catalogue. In order to do the photography for the show catalogue, I was let out of Dumfries Hospital for two hours. I had the week before, put my hand into a band saw, and this had given me septicaemia. Therefore in order for Chris Johnstone and Peter Kirk, both of whom taught at Kirkcudbright Academy, to do the photos, I persuaded the Hospital to let me out. I got out of bed, got dressed, and Eunice drove me back to Lochfergus where we did the photos. Afterwards I got back in the car and Eunice drove me back to the Hospital where I got back into bed in time to have another syringe of powerful antibiotics pumped into me. The Staff for the road to Meikle Seggie was made as a tribute to the road taken by Joseph Beuys and Richard Demarco from Edinburgh to Rannoch Moor.
Below right: Alex Flett with the artist Cai Guo Qiang and the Staff for the road to Meikle Seggie in the Lochfergus House garden in 2004.
Below:- One of the first things to be built for Celtic Odyssey were 12 bags of Scottish soil which came from 12 diferent locations across Scotland, because there was a request from the Smith Art Gallery and Musuem in Stirling to exhibit in the “Braveheart Exhibtion” which was being held in that year to celebrate the 700 anniversary of the battle of Stirling Bridge. After this show, the work then went to the MacLaurin for Celtic Odyssey, then on to Strasbourg to the European Parliament. The bags then were returned to Stirling to stay in their permanent collection.
Below left: Tha Ard Righ, and the Bannog Bags in Strasbourg in 1996. Below right: the Ard Righ in Lochfergus House.
Below left: Detail of the Ard Righ. Below right: the Ard Righ in Lochfergus House garden.
Below left, centre, and right; the Bannog Boat. The bags of soil and the sail of the boat both used an incised Pictish design found on symbol stones. The leaf shape is highly reminiscent of the oak leaf, a tree that was sacred to all Celts.
Several acrylic on paper drawings were made at the time which also used this oak leaf format.
Below: Ionic Pastoral was the linking of the painting paintings to the sculpture I had begun building. In 2000, the work went into the collection of the European Parliament.
Below: Ionic Pastoral in the European Parliament. The girl is the artist’s youngest daughter Verity Flett.