Being fifty-something, I know that the world’s a better place with whisky in it. And, as a writer, I know how creativity sparks in stunning, scenic environments, the more distant from the commitments and distractions of day-to-day life the better. (I give you Hannah Kent, Iceland and Burial Rites.)
So, how did I not know about the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize given it’s celebrating its fifteenth year globally?
The prize offers the winning artist the opportunity to live for three months at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown, Scotland. As someone who’s stayed in a Scottish distillery, I can assure you the winning artist is in for a treat. As the prize’s blurb says, he or she will “create work taking inspiration from the stunning location, history, heritage, people and craftsmanship of the distillery”.
On Tuesday evening, Mr P, Boy Wonder and I were lucky to be at the Melbourne launch of the 2016 Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Finalist Exhibition at No Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne.This is only the second time Glenfiddich has brought its art competition to Australia.
We were treated to a viewing of works by the six finalists: Stanislava Pinchuk, Jason Phu, Liam Benson, Emil McAvoy, Claudia Nicholson and Alex Seton. We also ogled the amazing art produced by last year’s winner, Joan Ross.
As you’d expect, the artworks are diverse and feature many different mediums. It was fascinating to view the works and
argue about wonder who might win. The winner will be announced on 18 November.
Andy Fairgrieve “the colourful, dreadlocked-guy-in-a-kilt” was present and spoke about his role as Artist in Residence Program Curator, possibly the most sought-after job ever. He helps the winning artists bring their work to life.
As you might expect, the evening featured some quality whisky tasting. Richie, Glenfiddich Brand Manager, was on-hand pouring exclusive drams of Glenfiddich’s range, including the yet-to-be-released Glenfiddich IPA Experiment (the world’s first single malt Scotch whisky finished in India Pale Ale craft beer casks). A tasty dram, though I couldn’t pick anything hoppy or beer-y about it. We also sampled Glenfiddich XX and Glenfiddich Excellence, a beautifully aged 26-year-old single malt. In between, we were treated to whisky cocktails and delicious finger food on a never-ending loop. Sigh.
What a fab, fun night we had! As I said, the world is a better place with whisky in it. And food. And people. And art. Deep sigh.
There are only a couple more days left to catch the exhibition. If you get the chance, get yourself down there. You’ll find challenging and unique artworks, a Glenfiddich pop-up bar and the chance to vote for your favourite artwork and win a prize package featuring Glenfiddich’s new release, the Experimental Series. Well worth popping in for a dram and a shot at the voter’s prize alone. 🙂
NOTE (to self): ASAP, dive deep into the interwebs to find a “writers in residence prize” offered by a Scottish distillery. If unsuccessful, make it your mission to pitch the idea to every distillery in Scotland, starting with Glenfiddich (because obviously they get the powerful connection between place and creativity).
NOTE (to you): We attended this event as guests of Glenfiddich.