Portree landmark “desecrated” by pink art installation

A temporary art installation in Portree has been described as a “shocking-pink polythene condom” that “desecrates a defining feature” of the harbour.

Installed at the end of last month by artists commissioned by local organisation Atlas Arts, the structure has been placed around the Apothecary’s Tower on the Lump, Am Meall, and will be taken down after eight weeks. The project, entitled “Are You Locationalised”, involves another art work at Taigh Chearsabhagh in North Uist, and is part of the Generation programme designed to showcase some of the best artists to have emerged from Scotland over the last 25 years.

Atlas director Emma Nicolson said: “It is our hope that this project will enliven local people’s interest in the tower and also provide interest for tourists and visitors to Portree. The artists’ construction around the tower and the work in North Uist has been created to draw attention to some of the issues linked to how we view historic buildings such as these. The work will be up for eight weeks in both Uist and Skye. On Skye we will be running daily tours to the tower and guides will give a potted history of the site.”

Through this project Atlas, with the support of Highland Council, has initiated the restoration of the original path to the tower. In addition there will be practical art making workshops for children and young people that consider the history of the tower buildings and brochs and duns of the west coast.

However, the structure has  its local detractors. In a letter to this week’s Free Press, local resident Neil Montgomery from Budhmor Place in Portree writes: “Like many residents of Portree, I watched last week, with considerable dismay, as one of our most recognisable landmarks was slowly sheathed in a shocking-pink polythene condom.

“For my part, its presence not only desecrates a defining feature of Portree harbour, it will deprive many thousands of tourists who visit and enjoy the tower every summer of a much more memorable and relevant Skye experience.”

The Apothecary’s Tower on the Lump, complete with pink wrapping designed by Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan, is pictured above.