Go Away: To the Papay Gyro Arts Festival

Feature by Rose Howie | 14 Nov 2011
  • Papay Gyro

Papa Westray is a remote island, 4 miles long and 1 mile wide just north of Kirkwall in the Orkney Isles. Since February, this tiny island has been the home of the annual Papay Gyro contemporary art festival. The festival will take place from 6 to 13 February 2012 across the whole island and brings together a variety of contemporary art from short to feature length film, through to architecture, live painting, music and story telling. Following on from last year's success, creators Ivanov and Chan have told The Skinny that next year's festival is 'going to be revolutionary'. The complete line up is to be released in November but check out http://www.papaygyronights.papawestray.org/index.html for more details. The festival was inspired by a Norse tradition called The Night of the Gyro which was celebrated on the island until 1914 in honour of a goddess who took the form of a female giant. The new festival tries not to simply recreate the old revelries but draws on new and contemporary art forms to remind us of folklore and the island's heritage. Another aim is to spark debates about new media and modern society's relationships with old traditions. A video recap of last year's festival is available at http://vimeo.com/30673435. This exciting new festival looks set to be a storm just like the last one, so if you're brave enough it should be well worth facing the trip up to the remote island and the February weather. [Rose Howie]


For details of how to get to Papa Westray, accomodation options and other things to see check out www.papawestray.co.uk/directory/scotland.htm http://www.papaygyronights.papawestray.org/index.html