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Black and white photograph of a stones on a beach with the sea to the left and a tidal island in the background.

Orasaigh

Poetry and Photography by Steve Ely and Michael Faint

Sound by Juraj Fajnor and Duncan MacLeod 

Orasaigh is a collaboration between poet Steve Ely and photographer Michael Faint, inspired by the landscape around the tidal island of Orasaigh, located on the coast of South Uist at Boisdale.  Ely’s visionary poem, whilst always remaining anchored in the island, roams widely, exploring a range of themes related to Uist and the wider world – sea level rise, the crisis of the ‘sixth extinction’, history, culture, politics, conflict and class.  Faint’s powerful photographs vividly capture the spirit of the place, creating an independent yet complementary subjectivity.  The work of the two artists combines and interacts to produce a uniquely evocative response to a rich and resonant landscape in a work that affirms the vitality and resilience of the human spirit, with the island itself becoming a dual symbol of precarity and hope in the crisis of the Anthropocene.  

Prints of Michael Faint’s photography are now also available to purchase through Taigh Chearsabhagh’s online shop.

Our musician-in-residence Duncan MacLeod has created an Orasaigh Soundwalk.  This 35-minute soundwalk combines readings of Ely’s poem Orasaigh with original compositions and soundscapes captured in surround sound that is mapped to a coastal walk around Boisdale and Orasaigh.  Why not experience it for yourself? The Orasaigh Soundwalk is available to download here: Orasaigh – a geolocated audio walk.

Listen to a reading of Orasaigh below:

Steve Ely is an award-winning poet and writer based in Yorkshire.  His books include The European Eel (2021), Lectio Violant (2021) and Englaland (2015).  Two further books, Eely and Orasaigh (a collaboration with photographer Michael Faint) are forthcoming in 2024.  He teaches creative writing at the University of Huddersfield, where he is Director of the Ted Hughes Network.

Michael Faint is an award-winning photographer who lives in South Uist.  Shortlisted for the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards, his work has appeared in books, magazines and newspapers for over 10 years.  He exhibits regularly throughout the Outer Hebrides with shows this year on the Isle of Harris, North Uist, South Uist and the Isle of Lewis.  He is currently working on the photographs for the book Orasaigh, in collaboration with the poet Steve Ely, which will be published by Broken Sleep books in August 2024.

Join us for the exhibition’s opening preview in Taigh Chearsabhagh on Friday 3rd November, at 7pm.  The exhibition is free and open for all to enjoy in Gallery 2, Monday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. 

A series of free workshops are offered in conjunction with Orasaigh:

Saturday 4th November

Kids & Family Creative Writing Activity, with Steve Ely, Taigh Chearsabhagh, 10-12am

Writing the Apocalyptic Landscape, with Steve Ely, Taigh Chearsabhagh, 2-4pm

Sunday 5th November

Orasaigh Soundwalk Soft Launch. Boisdale, South Uist, 1.00pm-3.30pm

Sunday 19th November

An Introduction to Digital Landscape Photography, with Michael Faint.  Garrynamonie, South Uist, 2-4pm

The workshops are free, but spaces are limited so booking is highly recommended.