DCSIMG

Anonymous art on blackhouse branded ‘graffiti’

Picture: submitted

Picture: submitted

  • by ALISTAIR MUNRO
 

ARTWORK left on the crumbling remains of a historic blackhouse on the Isle of Lewis has been branded as “graffiti vandalism” by the local community.

Bright white stripes have been discovered “meticulously painted” along the walls of the building at Mealista in Uig which is believed to have been an ancient nunnery –.

In the same vein as the world-famous artist Banksy, the person responsible for the latest piece of “environmental art” remains anonymous.

John MacIver, chairman of Uig Historical Society, said: “These blackhouses hold a special significance to the community and anything seen as vandalism is distressing.”

They are known locally as “the houses of the black women”, a reference to it once being the locations of a nunnery.

Uig resident Mark Miller Mundy, who first found the “artwork”, said: “This is the latest example of a growing trend for visitors to create environmental sculptures in the landscape of Uig, which they then leave behind when they depart.

“We were not notified about this particular piece of art being created, but whoever is responsible obviously took great care in what they were doing.

“These blackhouses are thought to have originally formed part of an ancient religious settlement, believed to be a nunnery, possible up to 500 years ago.”

There is also folklore that monks resided in the area. They were also blackhouses, which were particularly common in the islands as homes of both people and their livestock.

The artwork in Uig has surprised Jan Hogarth, environmental creative director of Wide Open, a creative organisation for the development of public art and placemaking projects across rural Scotland.

She said: “It is very unusual for this to happen without any consultation with the local community. Usually there is a story behind the work.

“Usually an artist doing environmental art would speak to the custodians of the building involved.

“Perhaps part of the idea is to do it anonimously. We may find out from any publicity who this artist is.”

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