Editorial – Summer 2019

Editorial – Summer 2019

The debut issue of Art North, looking back on it now, seems a long way off, but with hindsight one sees that the enduring theme that ran through that first issue concerned climate change and the environmental impact that our species is having on the planet. Across several key articles, artists and contributors alike documented the cultural initiatives that, in some way or other, referenced this impact. What is striking about our debut issue now, is just how much the Arctic was viewed through the lens of those who associate the far north with ice, tundra, and the many tropes that go with those features of The North as a ‘mindset’. 

As I write these words now, however, I sit in a room that looks out across the far northern coastline of Scotland, and what I see is not ice, nor snow, but the grey-yellow plumes of smoke drifting across the northern reaches of Sutherland from wildfires that are burning not more than twenty kilometres from here. Firefighters are still at the scene of a large wildfire for a fifth day, approximately nine square miles (25 sq km) of peatland has already been lost since the fire broke out, and 5,000 acres (2,023 ha) of rich habitat has been lost too, I am told. Yet this has set me to wonder not just about the species lost to the fire (both flora and fauna) but also the very subject matter that fire represents for artists.

Art North – Spring 2019

Art North – Spring 2019

In welcoming you to Art North, I want to say something about what the magazine stands for and from where it emerged, as an idea. It is not my intention to contribute a long Editorial text to future issues of this magazine, but I think that our first issue merits a clear introduction concerning something of our vision for the future. Art North is a visual arts magazine from Scotland and the Far North, as it says on the cover, but it represents rather more than just that. Firstly it is founded on the belief that no artist should have to work in what amounts to a critical vacuum, and that the magazine should serve as a conduit for the passing on of information about the wealth of talent in even the most remote parts of Northern Scotland and the wider region of the Far North and Northern Europe, forging regional links where they do not already exist, and strengthening them where they do.