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East Ayrshire Plays Host to Groundbreaking Exhibition: Creative Burns

Creative Burns runs at the Dick, Kilmarnock from February 14th – May 16th and entry is free. Opening times are 11am to 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday.

Homecoming Scotland is a national initiative, celebrating the birth of Scotland’s Bard, Robert Burns, 250 years on. The celebrations which will take place throughout Scotland, aim to encourage affinity Scots to come back to Scotland.

Due to its close connections with Burns, East Ayrshire will play an important role in staging events of a national calibre.

First up in February is the groundbreaking, Creative Burns, which is the largest Burns exhibition during Homecoming 2009 and is located in Burns’ creative heartland. It explores the importance of Burns as a creative producer but also as an influence to artists and writers working both today and in the past.

It features key manuscripts, publications, fine art prints, paintings and other contemporary artworks. The exhibition offers a fresh view of Burns and the impact he has made in Scotland and beyond.

Covering all the exhibition spaces at the Dick, Creative Burns pays tribute to artists and peers who influenced Burns; celebrates Burns’ own work through his manuscripts and publications; and examines through contemporary artists work his continued influence as a creative inspiration for artists today.

It presents over 100 works from East Ayrshire Council’s own collections, and loans from the National Libraries of Scotland, Edinburgh City Council, National Museums of Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland, Burns Heritge Trust and the Ellisland Trust. Included are, among others, John Lapraik, Adam Smith, Alexander Cunninghame, Francis Grose and Dr. John Moore. Contemporary artists include many leading Scottish Artists from Calum Colvin to George Wyllie. Many of Burns’ key original manuscripts also form part of the exhibition, brought together for the first time.

Creative Burns features new commissioned work by Timorous Beasties, Adam Proctor and Michael Visocchi, poet Rab Wilson and the composer Gavin Reid.

Ayrshire born poet and active supporter and advocate of Scots language Rab Wilson, has produced a series of new work for Creative Burns which relates to Burns which will form part of the exhibition.

A collaborative partnership of sculptor Michael Visocchi and moving image artist Adam Proctor have made a short film which investigates and re-establishes Burn’s connection with the rook, and uses these birds as a metaphor to investigate Burns’ broader comments on the world.

Internationally acclaimed artist duo Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons make up Glasgow based design company Timorous Beasties who have created Welcome Table, an elaborate, tactile and functional dining table to sit fourteen for a Burns Supper.

Running alongside the exhibition, are a number of related events and workshops, including discussions on the Scot’s Language and explorations of Burns as a song writer by Burns specialist Dr. Fred Freeman. There are also a number of storytelling sessions for nursery aged children and Burns experiences for primary school children involving poetry, drama, dance and visual art.

Hot on its heels is Ayrshire Innovators in May, which charts the importance that Ayrshire people have had in shaping the world. Innovators like Sir Alexander Fleming, William Wallace, Graeme Obree, John Boyd Dunlop will form part of the exhibition alongside their contemporaries. The exhibition holds many surprises and alongside Creative Burns, places Ayrshire as an important breeding ground for creativity and innovation.

To find out more about events and workshops accompanying the Homecoming 2009 exhibitions go to the Visit East Ayrshire website.