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Merran Gunn


Merran Gunn is a professional artist, curator and arts consultant, living in Scotland.  She has organised the annual Light in the North festival for Dunbeath Preservation Trust since 2016 and is the programme coordinator for this website. 

Artist statement 

I first heard stories about this Caithness author called Neil Gunn from my Grandmother Kathleen Gunn who was also born in Caithness; Granny in 1896. Granny was from Thurso on the north coast of Scotland and perceived her life there to be a far cry from the lives of the brave and wild fishermen and crofters of the East coast. She was later to fall in love and marry a Gunn from that very place. She adored Neil Gunn’s depiction of the old way of Highland life, his particular blend of storytelling, wisdom, practicality and mysticism, and above all a kind of stoicism that portrays highlanders of her generation. Kathleen enjoyed to read Neil Gunn’s work aloud and read excerpts to us as children. 

I was enormously grateful to be able to contribute to my community in Caithness, when I became a trustee to Dunbeath Preservation Trust in 2015. I lived in the original School House from Neil Gunn's  early Dunbeath education.

Dunbeath Heritage Museum has a commitment to preserve the legacy of Dunbeath’s most illustrious resident, Neil M. Gunn who was born into this village.

With the background environment of a cruel, restless and turbulent sea, Dunbeath remains, nonetheless, to this day a powerful hypnotic image of compelling beauty and  vision, and unchanged by much of modernity. 

It is still possible to visit the haunts of Neil Gunn's childhood and exhault in his descriptions of the river and strath.

I believe that Gunn's contribution to the canon of 20th century writers exceeds far beyond his national reach, because his sense of humanity and wonder speaks to all people everywhere. 

I have found his particular vision of poetry, spirituality, documentary and vision to be a mentor within my own work as a painter.  

Highland River Triptych 

This Triptych was made as part of a collaborative enterprise with my sister Kirsty Gunn, who delivered a creative workshop in response to Neil Gunn's novel Highland River at Dunbeath Heritage Museum 2016, and forms part of an ongoing dialogue that I have with my sister about text and image and our own navigation of creative imagination. 

Highland River I

Lascoux Acrylic on Canvas, Gold Leaf, Sand, Chalk,  Pigment

Private Collection

Highland River II

Lascoux Acrylic on Canvas, Gold Leaf, Sand, Chalk, Pigment

Private Collection

Highland River III

Lascoux Acrylic on Canvas, Gold Leaf, Sand, Chalk,  Pigment

Private Collection

Merran Gunn: Event
Merran Gunn: Image
Merran Gunn: Image
Merran Gunn: Image
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