22 June 2015

Another week and another arrival to The Glenfiddich Distillery. This time we welcomed Krupa Makhija who jetted in from Delhi to take up her place at this summer’s residency. 

Krupa is the latest recipient of the Glenfiddich/BestCollegeArt Emerging Indian Artist of the Year Award, which she received at a public reception in the luxurious surroundings of the Oberoi Hotel, Gurgaon earlier on this year.

Selected from a total of over seven hundred hopeful artists Krupa obtained both a BFA and MFA in Painting from Faculty of Fine Arts,    M S University, Baroda (2005 & 2007)  Yet although she trained as a painter her practice also includes printmaking and sometimes installations. Her most recent works have used objects which she describes as ‘architectural trash’. Collecting some old pieces of wall, floorings etc. from the remains of abandoned and disused buildings. Krupa then uses a photo transfer process to these found objects. These images depict the history of the building before it is totally lost forever. The images often show the people who might have lived or worked these places.

During her residency Krupa intends to continue using local natural materials and found objects that resonate with cultural and personal associations. One building in particular has already caught her attention at Glenfiddich, namely Balvenie House.

Balvenie house can in fact more be more accurately described as several houses joined together and despite its current sorry state of disrepair was at one time the ‘Big Hoose’ of the Balvenie estate where the payment of tenants rents and other administrative duties were centred. It was also from the late 1800s the family home of William Grant, with his daughter Meta (pictured in the doorway below) being the last family member to live there up until the mid 1960s.

In the mid 90’s it was discovered the house was badly affected by numerous types of rot and dampness to such an extent that it was no longer habitable. Thankfully there are now plans afoot to carry out a full refurbishment of the property which while will see preservation of some of the buildings character will equally cause some original features to be lost.

A visit to our archive produced a number of historical photographs showing Balvenie house at various periods over the past one hundred and ten years.  Krupa was then given special permission to enter the house under controlled conditions to collect some of the decorative plaster work that has fallen from the walls and ceilings which will carry her reproductions of the photographs.

As Krupa seemed to have brought some good sunny warm weather with her, a small bonfire party was held to welcome her into the valley of the deer. By good chance another old friend Jimi Mcrae Aka Jimi the Piper was visiting at the time and was only to happy to entertain everyone with a wee skirl of his pipes and was even kind enough to let Su have a wee blaw himself !