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Off-Site Exhibition

Robert Burns – A Window on Ukraine


Robert Burns – A Window on Ukraine
2nd June - 17th September 2023
Hillhead Library

A Window on Ukraine offers distinctive observations and reflections of the country over several years by Glasgow-based photographer Robert Burns, who has been visiting Ukraine since 2007.

Whilst on holiday in Crete in 2006, a chance meeting by Robert Burns with three Ukrainians kindled an interest that took the photographer back to the country again and again. The exhibition demonstrates his keen interest and empathy for the ordinary people in Kyiv and other nearby towns and cities. He has recorded the joys of Ukrainian life, the weddings, the festivals, children at play and vibrant street life.

I have made many friends in Ukraine and the archive is a major ongoing project. I always know that I can turn up at the Kupidon bar on Pushkinska Street and be greeted by friends.” – Robert Burns

Born in Glasgow in 1944, Robert studied at the Glasgow School of Art from 1962 to 1966, and it was at this time he became serious about photography, having first worked in his father’s home darkroom in the mid-1950s. After a spell in advertising, Robert became an art teacher but continued with personal work in photography, documenting the Glasgow International Jazz Festival since the early 1990s and making portraits of artists, writers and friends. Robert is internationally recognised as a master fine art printer for his ability to get the best results, not only from his own creations but also from the negatives of other photographers. "In the 90's I was printing for many international clients and magazines in Japan, Italy, Germany and France. Regularly for Italian Elle and Madam Figaro in Paris. In the past ten years I have been printing the archive of Margaret Watkins 1884-1969 and the archive of David Peat 1947-2012.” Robert was one of the originating members of Glasgow Photography Group, an enthusiastic collective of photographers who sought recognition for the medium in Glasgow and Scotland. The group's first exhibition was in January 1988 at Hillhead Library, hosted by the arts group Open Circle, with work by Alan Dimmick, Robert Burns, Ola Bambgboye, Stewart Shaw, Gwyneth Leech, and others. The advocacy of GPG eventually led to the establishment of Street Level Gallery and Workshop in September 1989. This exhibition was first shown in 2015 at the Hidden Lane Gallery, Finnieston, Glasgow.

With thanks to David Gillanders & The Hidden Lane Gallery.
Images: © Robert Burns

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