"She's Game Boys!"
Mary Slessor is regarded as a heroine in both Scotland and Nigeria but how are her achievements interpreted in relation to constant value changes over the decades and specifically in our own time. What does it mean for the people of Dundee to have a new civic space named after Mary Slessor and how is she understood today?
This artwork responds to the naming of the gardens after the Christian missionary Mary Slessor. It reimagines the heroic figure status of Mary Slessor through the visual trope of a sliding puzzle game.
Questions are raised about what motivated Slessor to leave Dundee to live and work in Africa and questions why her intervention to prevent the killing of twins is so significant.
The exhibition title references the stained glass memorial window in the McManus Gallery. It refers to a story about how one night in Dundee, a gang surrounded Slessor in the street. The leader swung a heavy lead weight on a cord threateningly close to Slessor’s head. As it shaved her brow she stood her ground. The lad smiled and exclaimed: ‘She’s game, boys!’
The work acknowledges the way we read words, history, belief and tradition by giving them renewed meaning in the present. The wider issue of intervention also relates to the waterfront development and the effect it has on people in Dundee. This in turn relates to the intervention of Sharing Not Hoarding bringing artwork into Slessor Gardens and seeking to include the voice of a wider public in response to changes happening in the city.
This project is part of a series of work made by David (Cully) McCulloch as part of his MFA show in Art, Society and Publics.
Meet at Slessor Gardens for artist’s talk and discussion - August 20th, 1.30pm