Two-hundred years of Ardbeg whisky will be celebrated in an exhibition which captures the untamed spirit of the world’s smokiest, peatiest single malt.
Artbeg, which draws on the Distillery’s past, present and future, comprises a series of complex, layered artworks that evoke the intriguing heritage and unorthodox personality of Ardbeg and its homeland, the small Scottish island of Islay.
The Artbeg exhibition (to be revealed on Monday 25 May), which can be viewed on the walls of the Distillery and onwww.ardbeg.com, marks Ardbeg Day (30 May), a global, annual celebration of all things Ardbeg. This year’s festivities, themed “Past, Present and Future”, are particularly special, celebrating the Distillery’s 200th anniversary.
Artbeg consists of 20 inspiring digital collages created by photographer Peter Heaton, himself an ardent fan of Ardbeg single malt. Heaton found inspiration for his unusual works on a visit to Islay in 2014. By layering photographs of the Distillery and surroundings with material from Ardbeg’s archives, his exhibits encourage the viewer to take a deeper look at the single malt’s heritage and island home.
In one work a striking image of the 9th Century Kildalton Cross, which stands near the Distillery, is layered with a vintage map of Islay and a press clipping alluding to Ardbeg’s renaissance in 1997. In another, the buildings of Ardbeg appear to rise out of archived, handwritten letters sent to the Distillery, as the artist engages with the whisky’s past and present, while hinting at its future.
The exhibition will be displayed on the outer wall of the Distillery’s West Maltings building and a selection of works will also feature on www.ardbeg.com. Distillery visitors will be able to share their impressions of the Distillery on the website by uploading their own photographs.
Peter Heaton said: “I have always had a fascination with Islay and its single malts, particularly Ardbeg. The exhibition interprets the Distillery over time and I wanted to create layered, complex imagery which would encourage people to give the work some time and think about the theme of past, present and future.”
Mickey Heads, award-winning Ardbeg Distillery Manager, said: “This exhibition provides an intriguing twist on the story of Ardbeg – and contains more than a few surprises. The complexity of these remarkable images makes you stop and think about the whisky’s heritage and its future”.