Skip to main content

David Peat: An Eye on the World

Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh
September 27th-October 26th
When documentary film-maker David Peat, who followed Billy Connolly's 1976 tour of Northern Ireland in Big Banana Feet, discovered he had cancer, he decided to unearth his extensive archive of still photographs taken over a forty year period while on location around the world. These included early shots taken of children on the streets of the Gorbals in 1968, a theme which he applied with warmth and compassion to his subjects wherever they happened to be.

When a selection of these images was shown at Street Level in 2012, the same year of Pear's passing, it was named in this august organ as one of the best exhibitions of the year. Now expanded to embrace the full span of Peat's canon, this retrospective at the Dovecot coincides with the launch of a book of Peat's work that reveals a fascinating social document as well as the eye of a true artist.

“It's really two exhibitions in one,” explains Peat's widow, Trish Maclaurin. “David shot the early stuff in the Gorbals for a portfolio when he was trying to get into TV. Then there's the international lot, which, when he found out he had cancer, he selected from about 10,000 negatives. David always talked of wanting to leave a legacy, because he wasn't bright at school, and had a terrible time. Working on the exhibition has been good for me and the family as well.”

While she has lived with Peat's vast collection for most of her life, if Maclaurin had to pick a favourite image, it would be “one of a couple playing chess, and in the middle is a pigeon watching them. There's so much going on there, and people can get so many different things from it.”

The List, September 2013

ends





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…