Fine art graduate receives national recognition

A Shetland College UHI fine art graduate has been shortlisted for a Visual Arts Scotland award, recognising her as one of the most aspiring graduates from Scottish art schools this year.

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Kirsty Smith

Kirsty Smith from Aith joins a shortlist of new emerging artists and designers from around Scotland competing for their work to feature in the annual Royal Scottish Academy Graduate Showcase which will open in January 2022 at the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Paul Bloomer, Fine Art lecturer at the University of the Highlands and Islands said:

“Kirsty started her education at Shetland College on the NC art and design portfolio course where she excelled at three-dimensional sculptural works.   She then took time out to be with her daughter before returning as a full-time honours degree student.

“The fine art degree course is built on exploring foundational skills and concepts in drawing, painting, printmaking, spatial practice and lens-based media.  There is a very big emphasis on experimentation and in fusing practice with theory, and over the course of four years students forge their own unique artistic language and voice. For her degree show Kirsty has used concrete sculpture, lead castings, graphite drawing and installation to depict and explore themes around home and land with the art on display suggesting ‘imagined possibilities within the present reality’.”

Speaking about her award and being a finalist Kirsty said:

“I am delighted that my work has been recognised by Visual Arts Scotland and excited to think that it could feature in the Gradate Showcase next year.  I have really enjoyed my time at Shetland College UHI, it has been great to have the opportunity to study from where I live on the island.

“I am truly humbled by the fantastic support of the college lecturers, family and friends over the years, which has helped me to create new and innovative artworks. I look forward to continuing and developing my creative practice and career in the arts.”

Kirsty’s work is on display in this year’s University of the Highlands and Islands annual final year art degree showcase which features the work of fourteen students who studied at Moray College UHI, Orkney College UHI, Lews Castle College UHI and Shetland College UHI.

Art North editor and producer of the university’s online degree show Ian McKay said:

"It is exciting and gratifying to see that, within the first few days of the exhibition going live online, Islands artists who are often regarded as working on the margins, have already enjoyed an audience of 1,600 visitors from around the world.

“The art in this year’s degree showcase is of an exceptionally high standard, which may be why visitors to date have viewed the work of students over 6,800 times, according to our website statistics at Art North Magazine. The interest shown is not just regional, national, or from the wider UK, but truly international – from Tingwall to Toronto, Lerwick to Los Angeles."

The online exhibition will be on display to the public until Friday 9 July 2021 at