The Small Gallery, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary – open 24 hours

4 Sept 2021 – 14 Nov 2021


Artist Statement

“Everyone’s life is a journey, with destinations, memories, and relationships along the way.

I was born in the village of Veifa’a Mekeo in Papua Niugini. My people live by the rhythms of nature. Growing and catching their food from the river, the sea and the land, careful not to endanger the environment.

Living in Scotland, I am captivated by the contrasting landscapes and strange creatures.

My exhibition “The Land, the Sea and My People” expresses my cultural journey to my new home of Scotland, never losing sight of my Papuan cultural heritage.”

Artist Bio

Cathy MacLeod (Nee Street)

Cathy works as a graphic artist and illustrator using traditional art media and digital art technology. She completed her studies in graphic design with CATC Design School Brisbane, Australia before moving to Scotland with her family in 2015.

Born in a small mission village called Veifa’a Mekeo in the Central Province of Papua New Guinea.  Cathy’s family relocated to Cairns, Australia in the early ’70s. She was raised with her three brothers and sister immersed in Australian, Papuan and Torres Strait Islander tradition and culture. Cathy married her high school sweetheart Scottish born Rory MacLeod in 1992

Her style is influenced by her Pacific Islander heritage and her husband’s Scottish culture. The repeating shark’s tooth, spear point and basket patterns tie Cathy’s Scottish influenced land and sea works to her heritage. The village life works tell the stories of some of the many Papuan cultural groups and are heavily influenced by the tradition of carved storyboards.


The Land

My series on the land is inspired by the majestic Scots Pine, native to my adopted country Scotland. I am drawn to the unique landscapes of the ancient Caledonian Forest, so different from my tropical birthplace but no less beautiful and with its own whispering spirits. The scots pine and its companion birch give shelter and sustenance to the forest creatures. Papuans believe that the spirits of our ancestors are carried within the forest animals, perhaps it is the same in Scotland.

The Sea

I come from river people from where the Tauri and Lakeakimu Rivers converge. The rivers run to the sea where the worlds of water, land and sky share their spirits. The coasts of Scotland call different creatures with their own songs, but the rhythm is the same. The kelp sways in the tide marking time for the passing of the Sun and Moon. Birds and otters dive for fish in the swirling currents while the eternal cliffs watch on.

My People

My people tell stories through, song, dance, art and ritual. We live among the spirits of our ancestors and mark time by the passage of seasons. Initiation rites prepare young men and women for the duties of adulthood. Village life depends on everyone sharing and contributing, taking only what we need from the river and the forest. There are unknown corners of the Papuan forest where unknown spirits dwell. Each tribe has its own traditions and totems.