Canna map small

map: isle of canna

(2014) pen and ink on paper, and edition of digital prints

As part of Away with the Birds, Hanna created a Gaelic place-names map of the Isle of Canna, in collaboration with Winnie MacKinnon, Peter Drummond, Alec Finlay, Frances Davis and the Canna House Archive.

In the late 1930s, soon after arriving on Canna, folklorist and last laird of the island, John Lorne Campbell, began to assemble historic maps of the island and lists of Gaelic place-names, such as those collected by Alexander Nicolson in the 1920s. With his wife, folklorist Margaret Fay Shaw, Campbell began to note down, and later record onto tape the place-names given by islanders Angus MacDonald, Hector MacDonald, Charles MacArthur, Duncan MacLeod, and Allan MacIsaac. Later,with the intention of creating a detailed Gaelic place names map, he worked closely with farm manager and local tradition bearer Ian MacKinnon to collate these lists, filling in any missing names. Their catalogue of names appeared in the appendix of Campbell’s book Canna: The Story of a Hebridean Island (1984), but was never fully realised as a map.

From 2013-14 Hanna worked in collaboration with Ian’s daughter Winnie MacKinnon, Canna’s last living tradition bearer, to further the work of her father and John Lorne Campbell. Together, drawing on Winnie’s knowledge, they explored the collection in the archive at Canna house, and consulted Scottish place names Expert Peter Drummond to create a detailed hand drawn Gaelic place-names map of the island. Alec Finlay created English translations and Frances Davis laid out the names.

A large-scale print was gifted to the Canna Community, and will be housed in the new community hall to be built in 2015. An edition of A2 maps will be available to buy from the Canna community shop soon.

+ view a full-size version of Hanna’s map

+ view photographs of the process