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St Margaret's Hope, Orkney

In February 2020, Monique Sliedrecht first heard rumours of a spreading Coronavirus whilst visiting her parents in Ontario, Canada. On her return to Edinburgh, she soon realised that it would be some time before she could go anywhere, so she relocated to her northern home in Scotland at Freswick Castle, where she has been based full-time since then.


Sliedrecht’s combine pieces are contained worlds, alluding to the mystery of the universe, and our deep connectivity. These ‘combine' pieces bring together familiar elements from her previous paintings including seafaring images, but also chart new territories and impressions of place. Some pieces are placed in boxes directing the eye to a given place along with the immensity of this universe.


The boat is a motif for travel and adventure. This frequent symbol in her work is a home away from home and a form of imaginary journey in a time when travel is not permissible.


The poet, George Mackay Brown, has been an inspiration for Monique, along with his home island of Orkney. Rosemary Goring writes about the Orkney poet in an article for the Herald, suggesting that ‘‘Though he did not travel often or far…, Brown had a vast aesthetic and moral map in his head." As the poem Places To Visit, concludes, “Thorfinn, you will learn more in Orkney/ Than Mansie did/ Who made seven salt circles of the globe”. Brown believed it and lived accordingly. Stromness contains just a couple of thousand people, but for him they represented all humanity.

This time has been a further exploration of such outer and inner worlds. Each piece is a poem, a small song, created in an attempt to establish a deeper sense of belonging in a time of shifting certainties.

  • Exhibition write up in Art North Magazine: click here to view

  • Please click below to hear a short interview with BBC Radio Orkney.

Monique Sliedrecht Exhibition InterviewBBC Radio Orkney
00:00 / 04:09
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