Noth Parish Church, Rhynie
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Ugandan artist Xenson Znja came to Huntly and Rhynie in 2014, to engage with the legacy of missionary Alexander MacKay, interrogating him as a figure, and his lasting impact on Uganda, attempting to travel through time and reverse the flow of MacKay’s teachings, transposing some of his legacy back to Aberdeenshire. Through a series of often impromptu performances, Xenson questioned the lasting impact of MacKay’s mission on Uganda.
One such performance was a walk, or pilgrimage, from Huntly along the river Bogie to Rhynie, carrying a boat made out of bamboo and wrapped with a piece of bark cloth printed with the MacKay pattern, a re-enactment of MacKay’s journey through Africa.
MacKay used cloth, and paper, for trading, and carried with him a printing press. The work here is bark cloth, a traditional Ugandan craft, made from the bark of the Mutuba Tree, which is pounded and stretched with grooved wooden mallets into cloth. This cloth has then been screen printed with the image of MacKay.