Hunterian exhibition explores Gaelic identities

Issued: Wed, 25 Sep 2019 10:00:00 BST

GUGA: Exploring Gaelic Identities
11 October 2019 – 2 February 2020
Hunterian Art Gallery
Admission free

A new exhibition opening at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, in October will consider what Gaelic identity means in 21st century Scotland.

Scheduled to coincide with the 2019 Royal National Mòd and the UNESCO ‘International Year of Indigenous Languages’, GUGA: Exploring Gaelic Identities presents objects, books and manuscripts associated with Gaelic language and culture from the collections of The Hunterian and University of Glasgow Archives and Special Collections.

Highland targe or sheildGaelic was once spoken throughout almost the whole of Scotland but today is only sustained as a community language in parts of the Western Isles. However, a large portion of current Gaelic speakers live outside the Gàidhealtachd (the Gaelic-speaking Highlands and Islands) with nearly 10,000 in Glasgow. Many are migrants or the descendants of migrants from traditionally Gaelic-speaking areas, but a rapidly growing number are new speakers. 

Spanning four rooms in the Hunterian Art Gallery, GUGA examines longstanding representations of the ‘indigenous’ culture of the Gàidhealtachd, and questions what Gaelic identity means today - to the native speaker, the new speaker, or the non-speaker.

The exhibition features both Gaelic and English texts and uses historical objects to investigate how living languages and the societies in which they are spoken, written and read, reflect both the past and the present. Must see items include one of the oldest known Highland ‘Targes’, a Neolithic skeleton from Tiree and some of the earliest Gaelic printed books.

Human skeleton found on TireeIt also features slideshow of images by award winning photographer Laetitia Vancon from her project At the end of the day, a photo documentary of young people living in the Outer Hebrides.

Hunterian Deputy Director and exhibition curator Mungo Campbell said:

“The Hunterian and the University of Glasgow are mindful of our presence in a city that is home to one of the largest concentrations of Gaelic speakers in the world, including an increasing number of new Gaelic speakers. The Hunterian’s collections reflect the strong historic connections between the University, the people of the Gàidhealtachd and its culture. This exhibition presents a unique opportunity for visitors to consider how historic perceptions of this culture have been formed and sustained, and to ask what this culture, and its language, means in contemporary Scotland.”

GUGA aims to encourage questions from visitors about how Gaelic culture is viewed in 21st century Scotland and they will have the opportunity to offer their own reflections within the exhibition itself.

GUGA: Exploring Gaelic Identities is at the Hunterian Art Gallery from 11 October 2019 until 2 February 2020. Admission is free.

A related seminar titled The Future of Gaelic in a Global and Digital Age has been organised by the University of Glasgow in collaboration with Mòd Ghlaschu 2019. It will take place on 10 October at Kelvin Hall. Booking via Eventbrite

Hunterian Art Gallery
University of Glasgow
82 Hillhead Street
Glasgow G12 8QQ

Open Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am – 5.00pm and Sunday 11.00am – 4.00pm
Admission free
glasgow.ac.uk/hunterian

Images: Highland targe (shield) c. 1623. Neolithic female human skeleton found at Balevullin, Tiree. Donated by Ludovic M. Mann, 1912.

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Bidh taisbeanadh ùr a tha a’ fosgladh san Dàmhair san Hunterian, Oilthigh Ghlachu, a’ beachdachadh air na tha dearbh-aithne Ghàidhlig a’ ciallachadh ann an Alba na 21mh linn.

Air eagrachadh gus co-thìmeachadh leis a’ Mhòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail 2019 agus ‘Bliadhna Eadar-nàiseanta nan Cànan Dùthchasach’ aig UNESCO, tha GUGA: Slighe gu Gàidhlig a’ taisbeanadh chuspairean, leabhraichean agus sgrìobhainnean co-cheangailte ri cànan is cultar na Gàidhlig bho chruinneachaidhean an Hunterian agus Tasglannan is Cruinneachaidhean Sònraichte Oilthigh Ghlaschu.

Bha a’ Ghàidhlig air a labhairt aig aon àm air feadh na mòr-chuid de dh’Alba ach an-diugh chan eil i air a cumail suas mar chànan coimhearsnachd ach ann an ceàrnaidhean de na h-Eileanan an Iar. Ach, tha àireamh mhòr de luchd-labhairt na Gàidhlig san latha an-diugh a’ fuireach taobh a-muigh na Gàidhealtachd (a’ Ghàidhealtachd ’s na h-Eileanan far a bheil Gàidhlig) le faisg air 10,000 ann an Glaschu. Is e luchd-imrich a th’ ann am mòran dhiubh no sliochd luchd-imrich bho sgìrean le Gàidhlig gu traidiseanta, ach tha àireamh a tha a’ sìor fhàs de luchd-labhairt ùr ag ionnsachadh no air an cànan ionnsachadh.

Air feadh ceithir sheòmraichean ann an Gailearaidh Ealain an Hunterian, tha GUGA a’ sgrùdadh riochdachaidhean fad-amail de chultar ‘dùthchasach’ na Gàidhealtachd agus a’ ceasnachadh na tha dearbh-aithne Ghàidhlig a’ ciallachadh san latha an-diugh – do dh’fhileantach bho dhùthchas, don neach-labhairt ùr no don neach-labhairt gun Ghàidhlig idir.

Anns an taisbeanadh chithear teacsaichean ann an Gàidhlig is Beurla, a’ cleachdadh nithean eachdraidheil airson rannsachadh mar a tha cànanan beò agus na co-chomainn sa bheil iad air an labhairt, air an sgrìobhadh agus air na leughadh, a’ nochdadh an dà chuid an t-àm a dh’fhalbh agus an latha an-diugh. Tha nithean a dh’fheumar fhaicinn a’ gabhail a-steach aon de na ‘Targaidean’ Gàidhealach as sine, cnàimhneach bho Nuadh-linn na Cloiche ann an Tiriodh agus cuid de na leabhraichean clò-bhuailte as tràithe.

Tha taisbeanadh-shleamhnagan a’ sealltainn ìomhaighean leis an dealbhadair Laetitia Vancon, a choisinn mòran duaisean, bho a pròiseact At the end of the day, aithriseachd dhealbhan de dhaoine òga a’ fuireach sna h-Eileanan an Iar.

Thuirt Mungo Caimbeul, Iar-Stiùiriche an Hunterian agus glèidheadair an taisbeanaidh:

“Tha an Hunterian agus Oilthigh Ghlaschu mothachail do ar làthaireachd ann am baile a tha na dhachaigh do dh’aon de na dùmhlachdan de luchd-labhairt na Gàidhlig as motha air an t-saoghal, a’ gabhail a-steach àireamh a tha a’ sìor fhàs de luchd-labhairt ùr sa Ghàidhlig. Tha cruinneachaidhean an Hunterian a’ nochdadh nan ceanglaichean làidir eachdraidheil eadar an t-Oilthigh, muinntir na Gàidhealtachd agus a cultar. Tha an taisbeanadh seo a’ solarachadh cothrom gun choimeas do luchd-tadhail gu beachdachadh air mar a tha mothachaidhean eachdraidheil don chultar seo air an cruthachadh ’s air an cumail suas, agus a’ faighneachd dè tha an cultar seo agus a chànan, a’ ciallachadh ann an Alba cho-aimsireil.”

Tha GUGA ag amas air ceistean a bhrosnachadh bho luchd-tadhail a thaobh mar a tha cultar na Gàidhlig air fhaicinn ann an Alba na 21mh linn, agus bidh cothrom aca am meòrachaidhean a thabhann taobh a-staigh an taisbeanaidh fhèin.

GUGA: Slighe gu Gàidhlig ann an Gailearaidh Ealain an Hunterian bho 11 Dàmhair 2019 gu 2 Gearran 2020. Cead a-steach an-asgaidh.

Tha seiminear co-cheangailte ri seo Gàidhlig san Àm ri Teachd ann an Aois Chruinneil is Dhidseatach air eagrachadh le Oilthigh Ghlaschu ann an co-obrachadh le Mòd Ghlaschu 2019. Bidh e a’ gabhail àite air 10 Dàmhair ann an Talla Cheilbhinn. Gleidheadh-àite tro Eventbrite.


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