31st October 2008 at 00:00

An exhibition at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery on the theme of Highland women is to be used as a project for local schools.

Reflections, which opens in the city tomorrow and runs until the end of the month, features nine very different styles of portraits of Highland women, dating from the 18th to the 20th centuries.

The collection had been in storage for many years, unseen by the public. So little was known about most of the women who feature in the works, and the artists who created them, that the exhibition's organisers decided to invite nine women writers from the Highlands to respond to the portraits and feature their contemporary "reflections" beside the art works.

The museum's learning and access officer, Katey Boal, says: "Jennifer Thomson, editor of the Inverness-based literary magazine Random Acts of Writing, asked nine women writers to choose the portrait they wanted to respond to - with the proviso that the work had to be widely accessible and could only be about 100 words long. So it was a considerable challenge."

Some of the Reflections writers, who include the award-winning author Katharine Stewart, chose to carry out investigative work into the identity of the models and the artists, while others responded in a purely imaginative way to the portraits. The resulting work features poems and song as well as prose.

Visiting school groups will get a chance to come up with their own responses to the nine portraits, as well as a 10th-century portrait of a Highland woman which will be put on display especially for them.

T: 01463 237114

E: kateyboal@highland.gov.uk.

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