Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 27th, 2006
Do you get the feeling that the art world has suddenly discovered cryptozoology, globally, all in the same moment in time?
Some cryptozoology art exhibitions, such as "Cryptozoology: Out of Time Place Scale" at Bates College, last as long as the summer and beyond. Others, it appears, disappear almost as quickly as a sighting of Nessie.
Take, for example, the two-day display at the Cumbria Institute of Arts (located in the city of Carlisle, in the extreme northwest of England, some 16 km from the border with Scotland). That exhibition, "A Study in Time," by Jennifer Holliday, will occur on June 27th and 28th, 2006, only.
Arts reporter Kate Rees of the News and Star overviews what’s to be seen and how it got there:
Fascinating artefacts – dinosaur bones, animal skulls, photos, drawings and correspondence – collected by a Carlisle-born natural historian and cryptozoologist can be seen in the exhibition, “A Study in Time”, at Cumbria Institute of the Arts today and tomorrow.
Samuel Stewart Holliday was born in 1928 but moved to Edinburgh, when he was three-months-old, and then to Inchnahaar, near Inverness. After a career in the King’s Own Highland Dragoons, Samuel was able to devote his retirement to his life-long interest in cryptozoology – the study of legendary creatures – particularly the Loch Ness Monster.
He amassed a varied collection of fossils, including an impressive flipper and tail bones of a plesiosaur – the animal considered the most likely candidate to be the Loch Ness Monster. The collection comes to Carlisle through fine art degree student Jennifer Holliday for her third year summer exhibition.
Jennifer is a very distant relation of Samuel – though she says she was not aware of him when he was alive. She is a firm believer in the Loch Ness monster and has an interest in natural history herself. She found out about Samuel’s collection through word of mouth, or “a happy coincidence” as she calls it.
This show is jointly curated with Morag Robertson of the Horsecraig House Museum, at Loch Ness.
For the show she has recreated Samuel’s study at Cumbria Institute of the Arts Caldewgate Campus.
It’s not most people’s idea of a fine art exhibition, which are usually associated with paintings or sculpture. Jennifer calls her installation “contemporary fine art” – art that deals with concepts.
“As a contemporary fine artist I like to think of myself as a facilitator of thought. This exhibition takes you into another time, place and culture. Cultural influences control the way we think, how we understand the world. It fits into my arts practise beautifully and encourages people to thing about al those things.”
Jennifer has says she has had a very positive response to the exhibition.
“There are so many different facets to his life, it reminds people of their childhoods I think. One woman said she felt surprisingly moved, that she felt it was like someone’s personal diary, I thought that was lovely.”
It’s such a fascinating story that people have wanted to pick up and read the letters on display – which they cannot because they are museum pieces.
Jennifer adds: “I think this room has a hallowed feel to it, but it’s really welcoming too.”
Jennifer takes up a post as assistant curator at Horsegraig House when she graduates.
Horsegraig curator Morag Robertson is looking into the possibility of taking the exhibition to New York and Los Angeles, as writing a book on Samuel and his collection, which will be on display at Horsecraig later this year.
See all of Cumbria Institute of the Arts summer shows today and tomorrow, from 10am-4pm.
Source: News and Star, June 27, 2006
Perhaps artist Jennifer Holliday would consider loaning some of Samuel Holliday’s items to the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, for a more permanent display? We are always looking for new items to add to the collection, as gifts or loans.
Contact info: Loren Coleman, ICM, PO Box 360, Portland, ME 04112.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.