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Visual Arts Programme

Embracing ambition

A powerhouse of creative activity, we host a variety of events and exhibitions throughout the year to pique your curiosity. This wouldn’t be possible without the welcoming, nurturing environment we create for artists. Mount Stuart has always been a place of innovation. A place where people have asked ‘What if?’ We encourage all the artists we work with to do the same.

We are delighted to announce that our 2020 Contemporary Visual Arts Exhibitions, which had to be cancelled due to Covid-19, have been re-scheduled for 2021! Find out more about our 2021 programme here.


Ilana Halperin: There is a Volcano Behind My House, 8 May – 16 August 2021

With There is a Volcano Behind My House Ilana Halperin has created works inspired by the geology of the island of Bute where she now spends much of her time. Situated throughout the house, four distinct yet contiguous series of sculptures, works on paper and textile reference ‘immigrant’ minerals embedded in the fabric of the building, as well as geologic phenomena found on the island. Halperin describes this work as a constellation combining personal, poetic and corporeal responses to the house and island.

The exhibition will run, in line with government guidelines, in person at Mount Stuart from 6 June - 16 August. Following our online launch event on 8 May you can now watch our film exploring Ilana's exhibition, directed by Connolly Clark Films, here:

As part of Glasgow International 2021 we are delighted to announce a new work by Ilana Halperin. Excerpts from the Library is an audio field guide designed to take you on a journey from Glasgow to the Isle of Bute. Find out more and listen to the guide here.


Emerging Artist Residency 2020/21 - Kaya Fraser: Milk + Two Sugars

Accepting the challenge of social practice in the time of COVID-19, when travel and indoor meetings were prohibited, was successfully embraced by our third Emerging Artist, Kaya Fraser. Graduating from Duncan of Jordanstone in 2020, Kaya used social media and local adverts to reach out from her base in Perth to islanders living in Ballochgoy and the Bush housing estates for the project entitled Milk and Two Sugars Please.

Installing a landline in her home she then had cross-country conversations with volunteers reflecting on life and their local environment. Describing herself as an everyday archivist, Kaya is interested in capturing and celebrating the lived experiences of those whose voices are not promoted in a tourist-centric town view.

In summer 2021 a sound work of the conversations Kaya and locals had will be played publically on the island.


Martin Boyce: An Inn For Phantoms Of The Outside And In

In 2019 we welcomed Martin Boyce to Mount Stuart to create a work inspired by the memory of a tennis court long since dismantled. His installation An Inn For Phantoms Of The Outside And In remains on view in our grounds.

Find out more about Martin's exhibition in our Press Release here.

Martin joined Sophie Crichton Stuart, Director of our Visual Arts Programme, in conversation to discuss his work at Mount Stuart. You can read a transcript of their discussion here.

You can purchase the book accompanying the exhibition here.


Abbas Akhavan

Looking forward to Spring-Summer 2022 we are delighted to welcome Abbas Akhavan to Mount Stuart. Abbas addresses social, economic and political concerns through the lens of ecology, animal and plant life. His practice of on-site research will see him spending time on Bute throughout the first months of 2022. This will result in the creation of site specific works using natural and ancient materials from the island. These new works will interrogate the history of Mount Stuart and its landscape. The commission will introduce audiences in Scotland to Abbas Akhavan’s work for the first time, his international reputation having been formed in Canada, Germany, USA, UAE, Colombia and Turkey.


Our Visual Arts Programme

We have been working with established artists for 18 years, and earned ourselves an international reputation. We now also work with artists in the early stages of their careers, helping them to find their feet and grow their artistic skills. The result is a diverse range of inspiring exhibitions.

Created in 2001, the Mount Stuart Contemporary Visual Arts Programme presents work by significant Scottish and international artists. The programme invites contemporary artists to bring new perspectives to the extraordinary Neo-Gothic mansion, its collections and location. Complementing each exhibition is a programme of events, publications and educational activities.

Commissioned artists have included; Kate Whiteford, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Christine Borland, Langlands & Bell, Anya Gallaccio, Nathan Coley, Lee Mingwei, Lucy Skaer, Kate Davis, Lorna Macintyre, Steven Claydon and Whitney McVeigh.

We extend our reach beyond Bute through relationships with writers and organisations including; The Common Guild, The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, GENERATION and The Modern Institute.

Through commissioning artists Mount Stuart Trust aims to add value and vibrancy to the historical context of Mount Stuart and reinvigorate dialogue and enquiry.

Nathan Coley, Camouflage Mosque, 2006

Steven Claydon, A Gathering of Vessels (Introduced Species), 2017

Whitney McVeigh, Way of Life, 2019

Visual Arts Archive

Over the years, we have welcomed a number of visual artists to Mount Stuart. Take a look through our archives.

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