An Lan­ntair wins her­itage lot­tery cash to launch Colin Macken­zie Col­lec­tion ex­hi­bi­tion

The Oban Times - - News -

STORNOWAY arts cen­tre An Lan­ntair has been awarded £ 59,900 to host the first ex­hi­bi­tion of the Colin Macken­zie Col­lec­tion, 196 years af­ter his death.

Fund­ing was given by the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund to de­liver the project which will see the ex­hi­bi­tion and a vi­brant arts fes­ti­val, Pur­vai, run at An Lan­ntair this Au­gust, cel­e­brat­ing the He­brides’ South Asian her­itage links and Scot­land’s 2017 Year of His­tory, Her­itage and Ar­chae­ol­ogy cel­e­bra­tions.

The Macken­zie Col­lec­tion is the old­est and largest col­lec­tion of an­cient South Asian art, col­lected by Colin Macken­zie from Stornoway.

Born in 1754, Colonel Macken­zie left the He­brides for In­dia in 1783.

He led a re­mark­able life, cul­mi­nat­ing in be­com­ing the First Sur­veyor Gen­eral of All In­dia in 1815, trav­el­ling the sub­con­ti­nent and build­ing an ex­tra­or­di­nary col­lec­tion of ob­jects.

The col­lec­tion com­prises a range of ma­te­rial, in­clud­ing fig­ures in­tri­cately carved in stone, thousands of draw­ings and sketches from across In­dia and Java de­pict­ing an­cient mon­u­ments, peo­ple and cus­toms, maps, coins, and old and pre­cious palm leaf manuscripts.

Items from the col­lec­tion will be on loan from the Bri­tish Mu­seum, The Bri­tish Li­brary and the V&A, and ex­hib­ited at Mu­seum nan Eilean at Lews Cas­tle, open­ing on Au­gust 11 and run­ning through­out the au­tumn un­til Novem­ber 18.

Nick Smith, her­itage man­ager at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: ‘It is ex­tra­or­di­nary to think that this im­por­tant col­lec­tion has never been shown in Stornoway, Colin Macken­zie’s home town.

‘Much of Macken­zie’s pos­ses­sions were pur­chased by the In­dia Of­fice Li­brary upon his death and are now in the care of na­tional in­sti­tu­tions.

‘The high qual­ity ex­hi­bi­tion space at Mu­seum nan Eilean Lews Cas­tle means we now have the op­por­tu­nity to bring some of this col­lec­tion to Stornoway for the en­joy­ment of res­i­dents and vis­i­tors alike, thanks to Cather­ine Maclean and her col- leagues at An Lan­ntair as well as the sup­port of the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund.’

As well as the Macken­zie Col­lec­tion ex­hi­bi­tion, the HLF-funded project will also fo­cus on the her­itage and sto­ries of South Asian-He­bridean fam­i­lies who set­tled in Stornoway.

An Lan­ntair will work with ac­tor, di­rec­tor and play­wright, Sudha Bhuchar and pho­tog­ra­pher and artist Ar­pita Shah on re­search­ing sto­ries of South Asian He­bridean fam­i­lies and their jour­neys to Stornoway and the is­lands.

Por­trait of Colonel Colin Macken­zie, with three of his as­sis­tants, by Thomas Hickey.

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