New take on work of Robert Burns

You might have to look at them twice…

Stunning images of Rabbie Burns and those inspired by the poet’s work have been composed by a Dundee professor.

Calum Colvin OBE, a professor of fine art photography at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, is behind a new book and exhibition

‘Burnsiana’ compiles images of Burns and the subjects of his work painted onto rooms and objects.

The book, which was being launched at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh this evening, combines Professor Colvin’s intriguing photographic artworks with poems written in response by Scots poet Rab Wilson.

“The idea for this whole project was to start with Burns, and somehow end up with Burns but, in the process, contemplate subjects such as politics, mortality, tartanry, sectarianism and portraiture,” said Professor Colvin.

“I wanted to look at characters from the time of Burns and hold a mirror up to aspects of contemporary society.

“I hope it will encourage people to reflect on the continuing relevance of Burns’ legacy to our recent past and forwards into 21st Century Scotland.”

The book and the exhibition follow on from an earlier exhibition Professor Colvin had staged at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, which was attended by Gavin MacDougall, director of Luath Press and publisher of the Burnsiana book.

“That exhibition contained a selection of works made over the last 10 years or so which have some connection to the Bard,” Professor Colvin continued.

“Burnsiana is a word which does not appear in any dictionaries. However, it’s generally understood to loosely refer to any collection of literary odds and ends relating to Robert Burns.

“For the book, I expanded the idea of Burnsiana further to include works related to Burns’ poetry and political ideas. Gavin suggested the collaboration with Rab Wilson. I thought it was a great idea, particularly as Rab is a highly accomplished writer in Scots, which is of course, Burns’ language.

“I talked him through the ideas behind the pictures in the exhibition, and he produced his first poems quite quickly after that.

“He responded to a number of portraits of Burns, but also images, such as Portrait of Colin McLuckie, who was an ex-miner and reciter of Burns’ poetry.”

The exhibition runs until January 31.