We staged a Barter swap shop in the Pig Rock Bothy of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art between the 13 – 22 March 2015. In that time, instead of an exhibition or sale of artwork by artists with learning disability, we aimed for an alternative value exchange, of more meaning than simply a cash transaction.
Over 40 swaps occurred between the six artists and visitors to the gallery. We didn’t anticipate such a positive response- swappers said that the absence of currency allowed a more personal, meaningful consideration of what they might offer in exchange for each work. Reaction to the quality of the artwork seemed to fuel people’s desire to exchange something valuable, assisted by a guide to the interests of the maker.
People came up with some amazing exchanges in relation to their own skills and networks.
Sculptor Duncan Robertson thought of an incredible swap for David’s giclee cactus prints, sparked by the suggestion that David would like a night away somewhere. Duncan has a room in his Georgian house which he hires out as a B&B through Airbnb which happens to have a four poster bed. He offered David and his worker to stay over for a night in Edinburgh.
Scots music fan Paul’s ON-NO knuckleduster caught the attention of clarsach player Lola who offered to compose a ceilidh piece to be performed live for him.
Kurt Geiger in London have offered fashion fan Alan a pair of shoes, one for each day of the week in exchange for his David Bowie and Grace Jones T shirts.
Lynne’s hand painted silk floor cushion was exchanged for a bag designed by Alexa Hare in response the fabric design “I was inspired to imitate Lynne’s design as I loved it so much. I learned that Lynne likes handbags so I asked if I could make her a handbag for her cushion”
Gary Barlow fan Lorna swapped her apron made from her textile design for a ticket to see Take That in Glasgow.
Artists Andrew Gammond and Cai Conduct made personal CD’s for pop music fan Leanne in exchange for her posters. Andrew’s CD tracklistings began with L E A N N E S W A P S H O P and Cai’s CD cover was designed and illustrated by him.
People have swapped their work to see live music, manicure vouchers, Pro marker felt tip pens , boxes of Maltesers, a makeover and photoshoot, a gluten free meal, a train trip to Dunbar with fish and chips, tickets to a fashion show and the opportunity to gig with a band.
To see the swaps that took place, and what happened next, follow Artlink Edinburgh and Lothians facebook page.