Five community projects make up Nation Live, a sincere reportage through art on how Scottish people feel about the country of their home. Subject matter is concisely categorised in five sections titled: Roots, Union, Civil War, Work and Faith. The exhibit reflects on how it feels to be Scottish through a plethora of media: documentary film, weaving, casting, sculpture, music, drawing, photography and broadcasting, all express the Scottish way of life.
On walking into the gallery, one is greeted with a sculpture by Kenny Hunter of a sanguine-red, fibreglass bust of Jimmy Reid, a pioneer of national Scottish politics. From the offset, the stance of the exhibit is proud and nationalistic, yet one that is welcoming, inclusive and welcomes discussion.
Nation Live’s orange logo introduces the projects and indicates the idea of media reporting (which ‘live’ presents) through two forward slashes (think URLs or pause symbols) that are cleverly angled to look like the land-mass of Scotland. This wit and ingenuity shown in the logo resonates throughout the room in the work created on the community projects.
Perhaps the theme ‘Faith’ tugs most fundamentally at Gaelic hearts in the centrepiece for the exhibition, a film by Daniel Warren. It presents a message about belief and trust: modern Scotland’s members must put faith in each other to make the best decision on the nation’s future.
This is a must-see for anyone interested in the reason for the referendum in Scotland on 18th September 2014. It takes the viewer away from political quarrelling to the pensive retreat of the gallery, where calmly and reverently, the story of the people of the windswept, historic and progressive country unfolds.
The exhibition, located in the Contemporary Gallery on the ground floor of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery runs until the 6th of May 2014.