In the News….

P&J coverageP&J 08.09.15

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A student at Gray’s School of Art has attempted to get under the skin of one of the country’s most enigmatic figures as part of her Masters project.

Anne Murray (Photo Credit: Ray Smith)Anne Murray, a creative practitioner about to finish an MFAContextualised Practice degree at Gray’s, has created a 21st century persona, complete with blog, Twitter account and film, for Rhynie Man – the name bestowed on a six-foot tall Pictish stone carving of a warrior discovered in the Aberdeenshire village in 1978.

The project, which was launched a year ago, has seen Anne working to raise awareness of Rhynie Man – which stands in the Aberdeenshire Council headquarters at Woodhill House in Aberdeen – among the local community via social media channels and engagement with local schoolchildren on various arts projects.

She has also created a map of the area which highlights areas of historical significance and set out on a ‘pilgrimage’ tracing a route from Aberdeen to Rhynie as a way of marking the stone’s spiritual return to the village.

An archaeological dig is currently on-going in Rhynie as part of the bid to discover more about the stone’s origins and the significance of the site.

Anne said: “We know very little about the Picts and it appears they used other means of communication such as their enigmatic symbol stones. Archaeologists are at an early stage of learning about them and this creates the opportunity for artists to be creative and playful.

Rhynie Man“Working with the artist collective Rhynie Woman and Aberdeenshire Council, I first set out to create a stronger presence for Rhynie Man in the community and help create awareness of the stone and its significance.

“This took the form of a blog, written in the first person by Rhynie Man, as well as a Twitter account. I also spent a day with the local school children creating Valentine’s cards and poetry for Rhynie Man which were then hand delivered to him at Woodhill House.”

She added: “The route that I am walking as part of Rhynie Man’s spiritual journey home takes in a number of other standing stones with carved symbols.

“Using the images on these stones, I have created a story about Rhynie Man’s journey home featuring six of the symbols and also created laser etched ‘alms’ to give out along the route to passers-by, as was the tradition of pilgrims.”

A stop motion film – ‘Rhynie Man: The Movie’ – created by Anne to tell the story of the stone was screened in the village on August 31, which posed an open question to the community.

“It asks them what they want to happen to Rhynie Man,” Anne explained. “It is a way of opening up that conversation and the project up until this point has really been laying the groundwork for that debate. This is just the beginning of what will be an on-going project. ”

Anne’s work is currently on display at Gray’s School of Art as part of the ‘C³: Collaborative Contextual Conversations’ exhibition showcasing a range of work by current full and part time Masters students. The show runs until Friday, September 11.

“I have set up the space so that visitors are effectively entering Rhynie Man’s enclosure, as the man himself,” Anne said. “As you come into the space, there is a full sized vinyl cut out on the floor of Rhynie Man which is his shadow being thrown as he comes into the room, then people must trace his route home from Aberdeen to Rhynie.”

On display as part of the exhibition are a number of objects linked to the project, including a hand carved staff, the laser etched alms and the stop motion film.

Looking back at the Masters course, Anne said: “It has been hard work, no one can deny that. I have enjoyed being challenged and reflecting on my own practice and seeing how my art fits into the world – it has been a really, really useful experience.”

Release by
Jenny Rush Communications Officer | Design and Technology

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In the News….

Busy day on the dig site – Cattle Jaws and Mini Diggers

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Another couple of busy days on the dig site. Most interesting for me, the great excitement when a Cattle jaw was found in the terminal/stone socket.  Once again the wooden Rhynie Man Lookie-likie came out and prove to be a very good likeness. Thank you to the @NorthernPicts for the photo – have a look out for them on Twitter and Facebook for more updates and follow the #REAP blog here.

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The number of diggers more than doubled today with the primary school’s annual visit to the dig site.  The children were met with a huge container full of spoil to sift through and find lots of interesting things.  They were also interviewed by Fiona Stalker, radio presenter from BBC Radio Scotland – have a look out for the photos on the Northern Picts facebook page, here’s a sneak peek of one of our young at heart local volunteers getting involved.

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Listen out tomorrow on BBC Radio Scotland “Out For The Weekend” Friday August 28th 2-4pm for more information about our open day on Saturday 29th August 2015 at 10 – 4pm.

Keep up to date with all the activities and events on Saturday by following the Rhynie Woman Facebook Page and twitter @therhynieman  Hope to see you there!

Busy day on the dig site – Cattle Jaws and Mini Diggers

So where is Rhynie?

I have talked at some length about Rhynie, but do you know where it is?  Would you like to visit and stay a while?  Why don’t you come along to one of the digs; for a day trip to the gala (15th August 2015) or stay a little while longer?  In more recent times, Rhynie was an important trading village, at one point it was known for the best biscuits in the whole of Aberdeenshire (so said a friend’s mum), had three butchers and a dress shop.  It currently has a population of 454, a primary school, post office and shop and medical centre with a whole host of clubs and services.  For more information have a look at Rhynie’s local website and Facebook page.  A place would not be a place without a map so here is one, and of course I’m an important feature!

Feel free to download the map.  The map was funded by Heritage Lottery Funding and produced by Anne Murray for Rhynie Woman.

Rhynie Map for blog

So where is Rhynie?

Throwback Thursday : Valentines News

senior school cards and poetry

I introduced Anne to Bruce Mann, Aberdeenshire Council’s Archaeologist for Moray, Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City and Angus.  Bruce and his small but perfectly formed team are responsible for making sure I’m well looked after.  They are based at Woodhill House but their jobs take them all over the four Local Authorities.  They are involved in a lot of different things, from planning applications to working out how best to care for buildings, sites and monuments under their care.  As I mentioned before, they are the ones to contact if you have found anything that falls into the category of Treasure Trove.

Bruce and his team received my valentines on my behalf, I think Bruce was a little taken a back, and possibly a little envious that I received more valentines than he did this year.

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The cards were then arranged and carefully curated by Claire and Bruce into an exhibition for the employees, volunteers and visitors to Woodhill House to visit on their way to the canteen.

card exhibition

An introduction to the exhibit was placed beside it as well.aberdeenshire-council-exhibition-information-001I’d like to thank Claire and Bruce for taking such good care of the children’s cards and for sharing them with everyone in the building, it means a lot to me to hear from my friends in Rhynie and that they still think of me fondly.  If you want to see more information and lots of lovely photos of their travels around the north east then follow their twitter feeds (sometimes I feature in their tweets as well) at @chh_bck and @diggermann17

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I couldn’t let the children think I hadn’t got the cards so I (ok, with a  little help from Bruce) sent them through something for them to work on. Can you work it out?

rhynie man ogham

Throwback Thursday : Valentines News