Many of you may have seen our former artist-in-residence Iona Leishman’s exhibition And Yet it Stands which took place earlier this year. I met up with Iona recently to discuss the showcase and where the artwork ended up.
The exhibition title itself is actually the motto of Mary of Guise (mother of Scotland’s best-known monarch Mary Queen of Scots) who was not only a central figure in the history of Stirling Castle but whose presence has been a huge influence on Leishman’s work since embarking on her castle journey in 2011.
‘She not only held her own in a foreign country dominated by men but she endured such personal loss and tragedy including the deaths of both her husbands and several children. Yet she maintained her empathy for other people and had great wit and charm,’ noted the artist. Hence the resonance of the phrase ‘And Yet it Stands‘.
The collection of paintings that made up the exhibition featured many of Scotland’s great battles but the female perspective was not lost. And although the subjects and stories are very much deeply rooted in Stirling, the castle and the people who lived and died here, it seems they resonated with people from all walks of life and parts of the world.
Iona explained, ‘I also tried to incorporate a universal theme into each painting’. And it seems she was very successful with her work being sold to visitors from Switzerland, Germany, US, Taiwan and Aberdeen!
Many buyers had been searching for a certain piece for many years while others just felt an instant connection. Some buyers had known of her work and sought it out while others had never previously known her name nor stepped foot in the country before. But all have left with a very special and personal piece of both the artist and the castle.
As the conversation drew to a close we noted how much her work had progressed since her residency and how deeply the castle and it’s stories had gotten under her skin, a not unusual occurrence for those of us who work here and so it seems her new customers too!
You can find out more about Iona’s work at www.ionaleishman.co.uk.
Marketing Executive, Historic Environment Scotland