This month's online exhibition pairs Anne-Marie Copestake's Margaret Tait Award film And Under That (2012) with Tait's rarely seen film Land Makar (1981), both of which are distinctive observational portraits of women in their own personal environments.
And Under That combines footage and sounds surrounding two women - a portrait through the act of looking, finding, and listening. Emerging themes are legacies and patterns of so-called emancipation. The women vocalise fragmented language built from ideas, questions, observations, histories uncovered, history’s subjective nature, moments of alienation, female voices of authority, and resisting completion. The film develops visual associations and a scenario wherein a questioning of histories and potential comes from two older women, whom are not seen as fixed and finished but with possibilities and ideas surrounding them.
Land Makar is a landscape study of an Orkney croft, with the figure of the crofter, Mary Graham Sinclair, very much in the picture. The croft is West Aith, on the edge of a small loch, which almost every passing visitor stops to photograph or draw or paint. I have been filming this beautiful place since 1977, observing many of the human activities which alter and define how it looks. The croft is worked in the old style, and has unfenced fields, tethered animals, and flagstone roofs. Mechanised aids are brought in when appropriate, but much is done by one woman's labour. The film is constructed so that the sequences are like a number of canvases.
And Under That is a Margaret Tait Award Film commissioned by Glasgow Film Festival in partnership with LUX and supported by Creative Scotland.