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Scotian News

September 2017

Issue 151

Congratulations to the following Former Pupils who have reached milestone birthdays this month:-

70 Lawrence Cassidy; Brian Roarty;

70 Kenneth Campbell; Peter Flynn (Wilson);

65  Desmond Deighan;

60  Kevin DiRollo; David DiRollo; Mark Deluca; Simon Cook; Kevin DiCiacca;

50 Nasood Ali;

 School News


August 19, 2017

The Artist explorer


I have waited many years for there to be an Edinburgh Festival programme which contained an entirely new contribution to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Thankfully it has now happened through the efforts of Aletia Badenhorst, a postgraduate student at Leeds Beckett University focussing her studies on the Demarco Archives as a Total Art Work, or in the German word Gesamtkunstwerk, that isa large scale collaborative work of art, resulting from my personal experience of every single Edinburgh Festival since 1947.

Aletia Badenhorst has been focussing her studies for the past three years so that she will graduate with a doctorate in Performing Arts. She has been particularly interested in six masters of this particular artform: Joseph Beuys, Tadeusz Kantor, Paul Neagu, Marina Abramovic, Robert Filliou and Anthony Howell. She has contributed to the Demarco European Art Foundation (DEAF) at Summerhall over the last two years, and this year, her contribution is entitled

The Artist as Explorer.” The attached information provides the Edinburgh Festival-goer with the fact that attendance is free and by appointment. The morning performance begins at 11 AM and the afternoon performance begins at 4 PM. I would appreciate having a confirmation from you if you wish to attend in the form of an email or a phone call. The email address is: richard@richarddemarco.org, the phone numbers are: 077 4896 1315, or 078 280 53238.
I feel privileged to have been invited to take part in what is a life-enhancing homage to the original spirit of the Edinburgh Festival, which considered the Language of all the Arts to be a healing balm dealing with the pain suffered by the global conflict of the Second World War. This has been possible through being invited to perform alongside Aletia Badenhorst in what is in fact a work of Art dealing with both the past and the future of the Edinburgh Festival. She has focussed on all the innumerable human beings both living and dead, who have contributed to the ethos of the Edinburgh Festival, under the aegis of the Traverse Theatre and Gallery, the Demarco Gallery, and DEAF.
Aletia Badenhorst has created a work of art which defends John Keats’ poetic statement that “Truth is Beauty and Beauty is Truth.” It is visually thought provoking and takes the form of an account of the Festival from the contributions made by a significant number of artists who, in their life and work, personified the concept of “The Artist as Explorer.”

I am indebted to Leeds Beckett University for the support they have given in order for DEAF to present this unique contribution to the Summerhall Arts Centre Programme, and in particular the personal support I have received from Andrew Fryer, the Dean of the Leeds Beckett the School of Film, Music and Performing Arts, as well as his colleague Professor Noel Witts who is Aletia Badenhorst’s academic supervisor. He has encouraged her to make good use of the Demarco Archive as a unique source of academic research.

I would hope that anyone reading this newsletter, who is interested in the future development of the Demarco Archive, would make a special effort to experience this extraordinary manifestation of Performance Art. It is particularly important in relation to other aspects of the Demarco Foundation’s 2017 Festival Programme. It is to be experienced along with the important contributions to the Festival Fringe at Summerhall. It certainly relates to the brave and noble effort of Lujza Richter and her friends who have given the Edinburgh Festival the unexpected and unimaginable reality of “The Calais Jungle.”
There is also an extraordinary installation by Alastair MacLennan. This occupies four Summerhall Galleries to remind us of the human conflict associated with “The Irish Troubles”, particularly in Northern Ireland. This exhibition is on the same First Floor Level as that of Rose Frain entitled “This Time in History, What Escapes/ Afghanistan.” It provides rich food for thought for anyone concerned with the violence caused by the recent wars in Afghanistan.

These particular parts of the Summerhall Programme have reassured me that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is still capable of focussing attention on the ways in which the lives of the Artist and the Soldier are interwoven. I therefore attach information with regard to two particular manifestations of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. These deal with the life of the soldier vulnerable on the field of battle. Therefore the reality of the War Poets Archive at Edinburgh Napier University is associated with the fact that for the first time in the history of the Edinburgh Festival, the British Army has been involved, and not with the spectacle of the Festival Military Tattoo.

I was most inspired by the Poetry Reading presented by members of the Wilfred Owen Association at the Napier University’s Craiglockhart Campus. It took place on the day I had the unforgettable experience of the modern dance performance entitled “Five Soldiers,” by the Rosie Kay Dance Company in an entirely new and much needed Edinburgh Festival Fringe venue, in the territorial army East Quarters building in East Claremont Street. This resulted from her involvement in the full battle exercises at the Defense and National Rehabilitation Centre for Armed Forces. The fact that it was presented in a military venue is of the greatest significance. The Production of Five Soldiers and the Experience of the Poetry Reading at Craiglockhart have reminded me that this year is not only the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival, it is the Hundredth Anniversary of the Great War and the warfare in France in 1917 that killed so many soldiers, including Wilfred Owen.

The masterpiece that Joseph Beuys made at the 1970 Edinburgh Festival entitled “Celtic Kinloch Rannoch: the Scottish Symphony” contained a one-hour long sequence in which Joseph Beuys stood as a sentinel over the grave of The Unknown Artist. Aletia Badenhorst has managed to contribute an artwork which I can liken to that of Joseph Beuys, for the simple reason that it is essentially a requiem, involving the communion of all those creative souls who have contributed to the Edinburgh Festival.


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