South Scotland

Unique costumes by Alex Rigg go on display in Dumfries

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Media captionAn exhibition of elaborate costumes has gone on display at an arts centre in Dumfries.

A collection of unique costumes by a Scottish designer is the focus of a new exhibition in Dumfries.

Alex Rigg's work is normally seen at festivals or street carnivals, where crowds may catch only a fleeting glimpse of the elaborate outfits.

Now they are on display at the Gracefield Arts Centre, audiences are able to get up close to the costumes.

They will also feature in live performance outside the gallery on Saturday 20 August.

Exhibition curator Denise Zygadlo said the display will give people the chance to see the complexity of the outfits and the materials that have been used.

"You can get up really close and have a good look," she said.

It will be a unique opportunity for Moniaive-based Mr Rigg, as well.

The artist and performer who has designed costumes since the early 1980s said he rarely gets the chance to appreciate his work in its full glory.

"The usual way for me to see the costumes is in bags in my garage," he said. "Or underneath the sewing machines when they are getting made.

"The rehearsal process involves mostly not working with the costumes - pretty much saving the costumes for the moment.

"I only really get to see [them] as a performer myself, watching the other performers fleeting glimpses of things disappearing up streets."

Many of the costumes are awkward and unwieldy - but that is deliberate, said Mr Rigg.

"Whether they are unwieldy or not is not the prime concern," he said. "The prime concern is that they look good and they are interesting to watch when they're being used."

He added: "Quite a lot of things I make are designed partly to be difficult to wear, to demand that the performer physically alters their shape to put them on."

Mr Rigg admitted that he was "a bit shy" about showing off his work and he found the exhibition "a bit shocking".

But he added: "I think it's important to pass on what it is I'm doing because I won't be doing it forever, I won't be here forever.

"All I am passing on is that there are no rules at all and you can make whatever you want."

Not to Scale runs until Saturday 10 September.

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