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Friday 12 March, 2021

On the Pentland Firth

Three elements working in concert drew me to Orkney: reading George Mackay Brown’s collection of poems, Voyages; my interest in archaeology as a metaphor for how I was trying to understand the land I was painting; and the St. Magnus Festival. Unfortunately I had to miss the Festival in 1986 but I drove north anyway with my bicycle dismantled in the car, reassembled it at John o’Groats and felt a sense of homecoming when I landed at Burwick. From those early working visits a bond grew with the place where I lived and the people around me. Home is here where, distant in time and space from my origins in America, I began to write. I no longer teach in art colleges or exhibit widely but I keep working in the studio. And I still have the bicycle.

Sylvia Hays, Artist

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