Shamus McPhee, Artist

Shamus McPhee is a Scottish Traveller, artist and activist. He holds a M.A. in Celtic Hispanic Studies from Aberdeen University. Shamus was born at Bobbin Mill, a Gypsy Traveller site in Perthshire, Scotland where he lives until today. The site was part of an assimilationist experiment carried out by the Scottish authorities from the mid-1950s, which sought to quash the Scottish Gypsy Traveller community through a process of cultural denial. The encampment continues to act as site of resistance for Gypsy Travellers, and can be seen as symbolic of wider European Roma questions regarding social exclusion and the negotiation of cultural difference. McPhee‘s art practice draws upon his experience of growing up in the midst of the social injustice represented by the Bobbin Mill experiment. Shamus combines art and activism in his pursuit of cultural visibility and recognition. The role of the artist within the Gypsy community and as wider social commentator is explored through his work along with notions of how art might enable new ways of tackling long- standing questions. Shamus exhibited at the second Roma Pavilion ―Call the Witness‖ at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011.