2008 Awardee: Elaine Woo MacGregor

The award gives me an exciting opportunity to work in a creative environment within the unique New England setting.


Edinburgh-born Elaine was brought up by her traditional Chinese parents and is equally comfortable in both Chinese and Western cultures. From a young age she went to the Chinese school learning how to read and write Chinese. During that time, she was taught Chinese poetry and calligraphy. She has visited China several times to visit relatives.

In the family home, the fusion of the two cultures was reflected in the prints, textiles and furnishings. However, Scotland has always felt like home to Elaine.

Elaine moved to Glasgow at the age of 18 to study Fine Art at the Glasgow School of Art. She graduated with a good degree, acquired a studio and began working as a full-time artist, exhibiting throughout the UK. She began to be noticed as a serious and thoughtful painter and her first solo exhibition was ‘Portraits’ in Glasgow.

Elaine has received recognition for her work in the form of the James Torrance Memorial Award, the Hope Scott Trust Award and the Cross Trust Fund.

Elaine was offered a post as Artist in Residence for one month at the University of Guizhou, based at the Art Academy of Guiyang. Elaine says of the experience that, “it helped to bring back some strong connections to my Chinese roots; providing me with a better understanding of the Chinese way of life and its ancient philosophy.” An exhibition of new work inspired by this visit can be seen in the Harbour Art Centre in Irvine in 2009.

How the Award Helped

Elaine has been offered the Partial Fellowship Artist Residency in the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson in Vermont. The Dewar Arts Award will help towards the funding of her stay there.

Since the Award

Elaine writes that after her one-month residency in the Vermont Studio Center “there have been unexpected new directions and opportunities..”  One is an exhibition in late 2010 in London with a group of artists on the residency, the other is her increasing interest in imagery related to mythology and human history. She plans to visit ancient Scottish settlements to develop this interest.

Elaine took part in our 10th Anniversary Exhibition, Roots to Shoots. Find out more here.

The award gives me an exciting opportunity to work in a creative environment within the unique New England setting.