Exhibition inspired by internationally acclaimed North East fashion designer opens at Aberdeen Art Gallery

A new exhibition inspired by the life and work of the internationally acclaimed Aberdeenshire-born fashion designer Bill Gibb (1943-1988) opens tomorrow (Saturday 22 February) at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

The Bill Gibb Line by Aberdeen-based writer-performer Shane Strachan explores new narratives across poetry and fashion. The exhibition features poetry, a film of a spoken word performance, and original garments and drawings by Gibb from the collections of Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums and Robert Gordon’s Art and Heritage Collections.

The exhibits are displayed alongside new garments by students from Gray’s School of Art; inspired by the life and work of one of the fashion industry’s most talented and innovative designers.

Eight poems by Shane, each inspired by a different fashion show from Gibb’s illustrious and tumultuous career from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, are displayed alongside original Gibb work, including pattern cuttings for Gibb’s final show, The Bronze Age, held in 1985.

Shane collaborated with filmmaker Graeme Roger of Wildbird on a spoken word performance in which he wears new garments influenced by Gibb’s designs and created by Fashion and Textiles students now in their final year at Gray’s School of Art.

The exhibition was originally developed and produced by the Look Again Festival in 2019, which exists to shine a light on the extraordinary creative talent in the north east of Scotland and bring it to the public, so they can see Aberdeen through fresh eyes.

Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s spokesperson for culture, said, “Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums cares for the largest collection of Bill Gibb’s work, including over 2,500 of his design drawings and 120 garments. We are thrilled to be supporting the city’s creativity through working with the Look Again festival, Gray’s School of Art and Robert Gordon University to present Shane Strachan’s remarkable collaborative project.”

The exhibition is on display in Gallery 2 at Aberdeen Art Gallery, a space which has been established to showcase the work of local artists, arts organisations, schools and colleges.

Originally from Bill Gibb’s hometown of Fraserburgh, Shane’s work for both page and stage is concerned with the North-east’s relationship with the wider world. He holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Aberdeen.

Shane commented; “The exhibition and film celebrate the personas we adopt when we dress up in an outfit or inhabit a poetic voice. It’s a real celebration of an often undersung North East star and I hope it’s a great introduction for those who were unfamiliar with Bill Gibb until now”.

A podcast by Shane featuring al the poems alongside Gibb’s story will be launched during a one-day symposium, ‘Fashion, Fantasy and Collaboration: the Legacy of Bill Gibb’ and will take place at the Art Gallery on Friday 20 March.

Information on the exhibition, symposium and an accompanying workshop can be found at http://www.aagm.co.uk/WhatsOn/whats-on.aspx

Photographs: (left to right) Students Kirstie Noble, Charlotte Scoular, with Shane Strachan and Councillor Marie Boulton.,