Highlands & Islands

St Kilda subject of arts installation about memory loss

Shona Illingworth Image copyright Handout
Image caption Shona Illingworth worked with neuropsychologists on the arts project

An artist has drawn parallels between amnesia and the evacuation of St Kilda in 1930 for a new arts installation.

Shona Illingworth, who was born in Denmark and grew up in the Scottish Highlands, collaborated with neuropsychologists on the film project.

Lesions in the Landscape explores the loss of individual and cultural memory.

It features a woman called Claire who suffers from the effects of amnesia. Illingworth took her to St Kilda to film her on the archipelago.

Image copyright Handout
Image caption St Kilda is a group of small islands and sea stacks off the west coast of North Uist
Image copyright Handout
Image caption Claire, a woman who suffers from the effects of amnesia, was filmed on St Kilda

People lived permanently on St Kilda for thousands of years until the last left 85 years ago.

The group of small islands and towering sea stacks lies 40 miles (64km) west of North Uist in the Western Isles.

A spokesperson for the arts project said: "In collaboration with neuropsychologists Martin A Conway and Catherine Loveday, Illingworth has worked with and filmed Claire, who, following a trauma to her brain can no longer remember most of her past, create new memories or recognise anyone - not even herself.

"The sudden end to Claire's access to her memories echoes the evacuation of the inhabitants of the remote Scottish archipelago of St Kilda on 29 August 1930, ending over 2,000 years of continuous habitation.

"Both mark an abrupt and irreversible lesion in a cultural landscape."

Lesions in the Landscape, a multi-screen installation, is being exhibited at Liverpool's Foundation for Art and Creative Technology in Liverpool and will also tour to Sydney in Australia, the Western Isles and London.

Image copyright Handout
Image caption St Kilda was inhabited for thousands of years

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