Glasgow International art festival

Posted in News on 3 May 2018 By Gayle Watson, Account Executive

Our Account Executive and Environmental Artist, Gayle Watson, recently attended Glasgow International and shares her insights from Scotland’s largest festival for contemporary art.

With a background in Fine Art, I am always on the lookout for new artists and the ideas they offer. In my practice, I create sculptures which aim to engage the public and raise awareness of environmental issues.

Glasgow International is a festival celebrating contemporary art on a global scale. The festival boasts both international and local artists exhibiting in over 70 venues across the city. Over 16 days, the public is invited to view a variety of art ranging from painting to live performances across Glasgow. With a range of locations displaying different installations, I was curious to find out if this would encourage the public to think about art.

I visited a variety of galleries, gardens, stations and street art, these were the pieces that I found most significant and insightful.

Hidden art

Beginning at the Botanic Gardens, which hosted an installation called “Glasshouse”, I walked through the beautifully neat gardens and stumbled across what appeared to be a makeshift hut, looking completely out of place. I sat and watched to see if anyone would go in. The only person brave enough was a toddler, who explained to his dad that he “found a den!”.

When it comes to art I think we should all be like children. They aren’t scared to look silly, going into an experience with an open mind and imagination.

The elephant in the room

Ready to discover more at the Gallery of Modern Art. The lower hall was exciting, relevant and extremely relatable. The group exhibition called “Cellular World: Cyborg – Human – Avatar – Horror” shows the depictions of nine artists questioning identity, social change and uncertainty.

The stand out piece was a digitally printed giant elephant, making its presence by staring at viewers as they step in the gallery. Inspired by the social uncertainty surrounding art, this piece addresses how many people may feel in an art gallery with the work literally being “the elephant in the room”.

I feel it strongly supports the ‘den’ in the Botanic Gardens by suggesting we should never fear the unknown of art. The work positively expresses and aims to break down barriers felt when viewing art.

New ideas

This festival challenges opinions, and no doubt some will leave baffled, but with themes of community and technology occurring, contemporary art couldn’t be more relatable to the general public. I encourage everyone to submerge yourself in contemporary art with an open mind. Balance is key, learning the true meaning of the work guides you, but discovering and sharing your own interpretations is also important.


Take a look at Glasgow International’s website and social channels to find out more about the festival. @GIfestival @gifestival



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