When Bodies Whisper is a group exhibition exploring the transformative power of gossip. Addressing the revolutionary ethos inherent in gossip and storytelling practices as rumours, myths, legends and superstitions, the artists Anika Ahuja, Natsumi Sakamoto, Sekai Machache, Camara Taylor, Hanna Tuulikki, claim possibilities of communion, rupture and overturning of given narratives.
The works presented are situated and contextualised in the Scottish Highlands where folklore is still deeply rooted, contributing to forming bonds, challenging cultural norms, and giving sense to the world. The accumulation and metamorphosis of gossip, through its many perspectives and retellings, form the backbones of myths, legends, and superstitions. In some respects, folklore is the narrativisation of gossip, producing a plethora of diverse, embodied, stories that go beyond time, opening up to the broad visions and higher truths of mythical thinking.
Anika Ahuja‘s environmental installation beyond the garden wall, composed of soil and sewn rugs from which sprouts bloom, occupies the gallery reminding us of the incapacity of controlling verbal transmission which, like roots, spreads beyond any barrier.
Four video works positioned at the corners of the gallery and mounted on industrial timber share lateral perspectives on how to collectively inhabit the interstices of unofficial stories and storytelling practices.
In the video Rowan Wards off Witches, Natsumi Sakamoto takes us on a journey through Scotland and the Highlands to discover the superstitions that link rowan trees to magic and witchcraft, connecting these stories with her distant family memories from Japan.
Sekai Machache in The Profound Divine Sky, transforms The Flow Country between Caithness and Sutherland into a timeless space, where African metaphysics, rituals, and black bodies reclaim their presence in the landscape.
Moving between rumour and gossip, Camara Taylor in holus-bolus shows us the process of revising history, visionary retracing the trial of William Davidson, son of the Scottish Attorney General of Jamaica and a black woman, accused of being involved in the Cato Street Conspiracy.
Looking at the possibilities of communion with mythological figures of the Selkies – creatures able to shift their form into humans by shedding their skin – Seals’kin by Hanna Tuulikki is a meditation on mourning and loss through a process of identification with more-than-human kins.