Andy Fairgrieve on Glenfiddich’s AiR programme, Indian artist Sitaram Swain and more
In Scotsman Andy Fairgrieve’s words, the Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown, Scotland is the microcosm of all Scottishness. Flanked by mountains and an expansive coastline, the distillery will play host to six artists from around the world, thanks to Glenfiddich’s artist in residence (AiR) programme.
“Creating a single malt is not very different from creating art. So it was quite natural to bring the two together. Also, whisky is a cultural product. It’s part of our national identity,” says Andy, the global coordinator and organiser of the AiR programme, who was in India last month to announce the Indian winner, Sitaram Swain.
Sitaram, who is based in Odisha, is an installation artist who draws inspiration from day-to-day objects, such as clay pots, to present concepts that are truly out of the box. The AiR programme has hosted artists from the UK, USA, Mexico, Spain, China, Taiwan and Korea ever since its inception in 2002. “We have a historic setting. What better place to inspire art,” says Andy. The artists will spend three months at the distillery, and will get to be a part of a host of social activities such as whisky tastings, distillery tours, bonfire parties, dinner parties and more. “The town has a population of about 1,500. It’s a very close-knit community. And the setting is simply stunning. It will be of great interest to the artists as most of them come from urban areas,” shares Andy.
After the programme (which will be held from June to September), the artists will get to showcase their works at the Glenfiddich gallery in Scotland and in select galleries back in their home countries. They’ll also be awarded a cash prize of `10 lakhs to help them with their craft.