Stirling-born and Edinburgh-based artist, Sharon Quigley is a graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee. Her artistic practice includes painting, public art and artist’s residencies while exhibiting across the UK and internationally. In 2017 Sharon was elected President of the Society of Scottish Artists – the artist-led organisation promoting contemporary art since 1891. Her portfolio of works and participatory projects is here.
Sharon was commissioned as one of the first artists-in-residence at Broomhouse Primary School bringing the wonder of contemporary art into the classrooms of Primary 4, 5 and 6 pupils from January until April 2017. Her weekly sessions started with discussing the role of artists outwith their studios and within the community. It brought the question Where am I introducing the theme of cartography and the various mapmaking tools and ideas artists use to re-imagine the world and our place in it. The ‘map works’ Swimming (2008) by the Brazilian artist Joao Machado and Europe (2005) by the Dutch artist Corriette Schoenaerts amongst others were used in these thought-provoking discussions.
You Are Here soon emerged as the theme of the final exhibition. This theme also allowed the pupils to trace back the history of Broomhouse Primary School through old maps while imagining and designing a new set of buildings for the area including access to shops and parkland, nature and facilities such as swimming pools and sports stadiums. The first works in the new series of colourful book buildings (with names like Vanessa’s Amazing Zoo, The Fruit Den and The Fantastic Café Alexander) were already taking shape.
Throughout the following sessions the pupils coordinated imaginary trips into Edinburgh and other places in Scotland. Taking it in turns, they each plotted a day out for the rest of the class to either participate in, look at something new or visit someone special. This is where the school trip to the Scottish National Gallery led by artist-in-residence Alicia Bruce brought all the mapmaking alive – the first ever visit to this national treasure trove for the young people, their class teachers and helpful adults.
Back into the classrooms, the class designed their own set of bespoke map icons soon to be transformed into a set of personalised stickers for the final map artworks. In their final sessions, the pupils pondered the question Where in the world while taking a trip into the unknown, exploring a foreign land, finding out about its landscape and culture.
“My practice balances community collaboration and engagement with self-directed studio practice. I have undertaken several artistic residencies and public art commissions as a professional artist, which have allowed me to develop and employ a wide range of skills in creativity, design, community engagement and collaboration.” Sharon Quigley
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Sharon Quigley’s artist’s residency at Broomhouse Primary School in 2017 was curated by Iliyana Nedkova as part of From A to B: From Abbeyhill to Broomhouse Primary School artist-in-residence programme supported by Broomhouse Primary School and National Galleries Scotland.