GMB: A Portrait with Friends
Erlend Brown gave the tenth GMB Memorial Lecture in the Pier Arts Centre during the year of the twentieth anniversary of the death of George Mackay Brown in 1996. An acclaimed artist with a distinguished international career, and nephew of the writer, Erlend was the first director of the Pier Arts Centre, and contributed illustrations to a number of George Mackay Brown’s publications. His talk, accompanied by slides, shared reminiscences which centred upon photographs taken by George’s family and friends.
Erlend Brown was born in 1947. He attended Stromness Academy then studied at Edinburgh College of Art. He taught art in primary and secondary schools in Orkney for eight years before being appointed as the first curator of the Pier Arts Centre which opened in 1979. He worked there for twelve years, overseeing exhibitions of local and international artists. Since then he has been a full time artist working in Orkney and Zurich, Switzerland. He made drawings for a number of publications by George Mackay Brown: A Portrait of Orkney (1988), the story “Eureka” in The Sea King’s Daughter and Eureka (Balnain Books, 1991) and The Sea and the Tower (Bayeux, 1994). He created four of the fourteen large sails that hung between the pillars of St Magnus Cathedral in 1993 and 2017 forming the installation Sails in St Magnus: Pilgrimage of Earl Rognvald. Created for the 1993 St Magnus Festival, the work was based on the Orkneyinga Saga account of the 12th century voyage of vikings from Orkney to the Holy Land. The saga relates that after the return from the 3 year voyage the vikings dried their sails in the loft of the Cathedral.
As well as poetry and other literature, Erlend’s work is influenced by the environment and ecology, and explores a variety of materials. Landscapes and seascapes reveal human presence, our constructions and detritus; sails bear the marks of journeys, physical and interior, their accrued memories and symbols. His work has been exhibited in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles; Edinburgh and London; the Faroes, Norway, France and Switzerland.
https://www.axisweb.org/p/erlendbrown/. https://artuk.org/discover/artists/brown-erlend-b-1947 https://www.orcadian.co.uk/sails-st-magnus-cathedral/https://www.orcadian.co.uk/sails-st-magnus-cathedral/