Calum MacKinnon Ferguson (he/him/his)
I am an Artist/Maker working in a range of media from installation to film. My work is heavily influenced by the relationships between the human and non-human. Ecology, land-use and creating sustainable futures are all central to my creative practice. Using innovative and sustainable materiality to explore intricate environmental, ethical and social matters. Having grown up in the Outer Hebrides, the rugged and unique islands’ environment has constantly influenced my work. The biodiversity, barren land/seascapes and strong Gaidhlig culture that surrounds me has been crucial in shaping my practice. Seeing first hand the fragility of the land, weather, erosion and human impact has shaped a consistent theme of sustainability within my work and the need for more awareness of our natural environment.
‘Athurachadh’ is a response to the current difficulties seen by young people and new entrants to crofting amidst the culmination of events such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the island’s housing crisis and the effects of the climate crisis. My design aims to ignite conversation around the lack of access to crofting for young people and new entrants to crofting. The work questions the future of crofting, its sustainability and its accessibility for young people within the context of the Isle of North Uist.
‘Athurachadh’ are talismans of each piece of croftland. Holding the worth of an individual area of land, the holder of the ‘Athurachadh’ talisman is the custodian to that piece of land. They hold the responsibility to see that croft is used appropriately or pass the talisman on to someone who will for-fill that duty of care.
With ‘Athurachadh’ the land is no longer equatable to a monetary figure, instead to the practices and livelihood that the land can uphold.
The images below are series of satirical, provocative signs which were placed and photographed to act as an access point to my design. Visually communicating the context in which the ‘Athurachadh’ talismans exist and the urgency for innovation and reform to allow young people to thrive in crofting communities.
Bidh talismans ‘Athurachadh’ a cuideachadh seann chroitearan ann a bhith a’ toirt fearann air adhart don ghinealach as òige agus a ’toirt air chroitearan smaoineachadh air an dòigh as fheàrr air an fhearann a chleachdadh ann an dòigh a tha mothachail do thraidiseanan agus cultar agus buannachdail dhan daonna agus neo-dhaonna is cuideachd ris an àrainneachd.
(The talismans of ‘Athurachadh’ create a legacy for older crofters in passing land on to the younger generation and gives a duty of care for crofters to think about how that land is best used in a way that is considerate to local traditions and culture and beneficial to the local and global human and non-human populations and the environment.)