Scotland’s first dazzle ship, a piece titled Every Woman by artist Ciara Phillips, was today unveiled on Prince Alexander Dock, Leith by Edinburgh Art Festival, the UK’s largest annual festival of visual arts, and 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary. Phillips has “dazzled” MV Fingal, marking 100 years since the Battle of Jutland.
Every Woman will be part of the Jutland 2016 commemorations at Hawes Pier on Saturday 28 May 2016.
‘Dazzle camouflage’ was invented by marine artist Norman Wilkinson and used extensively during the First World War to confuse the enemy, making it hard to determine the range, speed and direction of travel of the dazzled vessels.
In developing her “dazzle” design for the MV Fingal, Phillips was drawn to the largely untold histories of women in the First World War, including the team of women who worked under Wilkinson to develop the dazzle designs.
Women also worked as telegraphists and signallers during the war, and Phillips’ design includes a message in Morse code in retro reflective paint reading ‘Every Woman a Signal Tower’. The message will shine out in the darkness, celebrating the ship’s former role as a supplier to remote lighthouses.
Sorcha Carey, Director of Edinburgh Art Festival, said:
“We are delighted to be partnering with 14-18 NOW and Royal Yacht Britannia Trust on Ciara Phillips’ Every Woman, the first Dazzle Ship in Scotland and a major commission for the Port of Leith that will play a central role in the nationwide commemorations of the centenary of WW1. Launched in advance of the festival, the work promises to be a highlight of this year’s commissions programme, which in Scotland’s Year of Architecture, Innovation and Design, reflects on the role of monuments in our public spaces.”
Jenny Waldmnan, Director of 14-18 Now, said:
“Every Woman is an amazing piece of visual art that also gives occasion to reflect on a crucial moment when art contributed to saving lives in the First World War. It is wonderful to be working with Edinburgh Art Festival and Scottish Government to present Ciara’s extraordinary design in the place where the first bedazzled war-ready ships were docked 100 years ago”
Every Woman is the fourth in the series of Dazzle Ships, and follows the success of Dazzle Ships in London and Liverpool through 14-18 NOW’s partnership with Liverpool Biennial. The work is co-commissioned by Edinburgh Art Festival and 14-18 NOW, with support from the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council, Forth Ports, Sherwin-Williams and the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust.
14-18 NOW has commissioned a number of major projects across Scotland in 2016 to mark the Battle of Jutland and the Battle of the Somme. The poppy installation Weeping Window, by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, is currently on display outside St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, Orkney, and will tour to the Black Watch Museum in Perth at the end of June. Award-winning composer David Lang will premiere his choral piece Memorial Ground with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus at the East Neuk Festival in July; and a new musical theatre trilogy by the National Theatre of Scotland, opening this week, will explore the lives of three soldiers shot for cowardice during the First World War.