Public appeal for stories, portraits and ideas to be displayed alongside the national collection

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Public appeal for stories, portraits and ideas to be displayed alongside the national collection
Anonymous, 2020 Portrait submission.

EDINBURGH.- People across Scotland and beyond are being asked to submit stories, portraits and ideas about the future as part of a new display at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. They will be shown alongside five striking examples of portraiture from the national collection in a display titled You Are Here | 2020: Stories, Portraits, Visions.

This display will explore the issues Scotland faces in 2020 by providing a platform for people to reflect on a year, which has seen the most unprecedented times in a generation.

People can respond to one or more of the three categories: stories, portraits and visions. The first, 2020 Stories is looking for a story about this year in 100 words or less which could be positive or negative, prose or poetry. The second, 2020 Portraits is a portrait that encapsulates something about this year. From the joyful to the tragic and everything in between; lockdown hair and extra time with family, social distancing to social isolation, PPE-clad shopping trips to food bank deliveries. Lastly 2020 Visions is asking for people’s thoughts on the future; what are the good things to come out of this year? What lessons have been learned that could be taken forward?

The public submissions will sit alongside artworks from the national collection, which were selected for their contemporary relevance. They speak of the health service, powerful cultural icons and under-represented demographics. The five works are: two bronze busts of influential women - Scots Makar (the national poet for Scotland) Jackie Kay and the pioneering Dr Elsie Inglis; a photograph and display of work prints by Iain Stewart from his series, Tender, for which he shadowed two Edinburgh GPs; Man Up, a video work featuring Mercury Prize-winning Edinburgh band Young Fathers and a new acquisition – a portrait of the international singer-songwriter Emeli Sandé, painted by Samira Addo, winner of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2018.

Learning and Engagement Outreach Officer, Richie Cumming who has devised this display, said: ‘We are asking the questions; “How are you doing?” How has your year been? We want this installation to be a broad representation of 2020 and hope people will be inspired to participate and share this call to action with family, friends, neighbours and colleagues. The combined results will act as a portrait of the nation, offering the opportunity for work from members of the public to be displayed alongside portraits of these exceptional people from the national collection and give brief insights into the range of experiences people have had over this bizarre and troubling year.’

Members of the public can upload their submissions via the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) website and the project is open to all. As the project is based on 2020, works must have been created this year and should respond to the themes of stories, portraits, visions. The works to be displayed will be reviewed by a panel consisting of Learning and Engagement and Collection and Research staff from NGS. Each submission will be considered under the criteria of: creativity, originality, geographic spread and uniqueness of the submission.

The display will feature a selection of submissions and these will change on a rotational basis. The majority of all submissions will be displayed on the exhibition feature pages on the NGS website.

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