Overview

During his residency at An Cridhe on the Isle of Coll in late 2019 Frank photographed the night sky, the stormy shoreline, and a lot of over-wintering geese. By chance he discovered that the old pier in the main village of Arinagour had been built as part of a famine relief project during the years of the potato blight in the middle of the nineteenth century. He had been researching the Highland Clearances but this discovery led to further investigation into why there were so many people of Irish descent in Scotland, (including his own family). The Great Famine caused a million Irish deaths and more than a million migrations. Frank made trips to Ireland to photograph along the Atlantic coast. He also photographed Ailsa Craig, an island in the outer Firth of Clyde, from different viewpoints under different weather conditions. The Craig is halfway between Belfast and Glasgow and is known as Paddy’s Milestone because it was a navigation point for the many thousands of Irish people who migrated to Scotland. Reflecting on past migrations is important in understanding how to respond appropriately to those occurring today.

Works
Biography

Frank McElhinney is a visual artist based in Scotland. His work investigates migration, nationhood and mortality. Having first studied medieval and modern history, Frank investigates contemporary issues through an historical lens. He works with different media but photography is foremost in his practice. His photographs are made outdoors, often using pinhole cameras loaded with paper, to produce images that may not be placed easily in time.

Exhibitions