Last chance to be dazzled in Leith Docks

Ciara Phillips’ Dazzle Ship Scotland Every Woman, created to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, will be on display for its final few weeks in Prince of Wales Docks, before closing on 31st January 2017.

This large-scale artwork, co-commissioned by Edinburgh Art Festival (EAF) and 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, is the fourth in a series of 'Dazzle Ships’ created by contemporary artists to commemorate the First World War.

Turner Prize-nominated artist and long-term resident of Scotland, Ciara Phillips, developed a striking design for a new Dazzle Ship – the first ever in Scotland – to adorn the iconic vessel MV Fingal, celebrating the role of women during the First World War and commemorating the battle-ready ships that were docked at Leith 100 years ago.

The ship has proven to be an incredibly popular attraction, becoming a much-loved part of the Leith landscape as part of celebrations for the 70th anniversary year of Edinburgh, The Festival City. Since its launch in May 2016 when the ship journeyed down the Firth of Forth as part of the centenary commemorations of the Battle of Jutland, the ship has attracted an estimated 461,000 views, with thousands of local residents, festival audiences and international visitors sharing images and memories online.

EAF is delighted to have been working with so many project partners to create and present an artwork that is already such a key part of the festival city’s history and future. The important engagement work will carry on across the communities of the city until April 2017. The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust worked with EAF to extend the project beyond the original planned closing date of 28 August 2016. The artwork will now be de-installed to allow preparatory works to convert the ship into a boutique hotel to commence.

Saying goodbye to the first Dazzle Ship in Scotland leaves behind an enduring legacy. Over 7500 Edinburgh residents - locals, school children and community groups young and old - have explored the history of Dazzle and the themes of this particular work – highlighting the role of women in the First World War. Through a dedicated programme of workshops and community events specifically developed around the artwork, Every Woman, inspired creative responses across the city.

Sorcha Carey, Director of Edinburgh Art Festival, said:
“We are delighted to have been able to work with Ciara Phillips and so many project partners to bring such an ambitious artwork to life - I know that Every Woman will live long in the memory of residents and visitors to the city.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, Edinburgh’s Festivals and Events Champion, added:
“The Edinburgh Art Festival is renowned for showcasing incredible artworks in unusual places with Every Woman a prime example. Turner Prize nominee Ciara Phillips’ commission faithfully married Edinburgh’s artistic culture with its seafaring past. It has been a dazzling addition to Leith Docks as we sail into the 70th anniversary of Edinburgh - The Festival City and prepare for a staggering year celebrating our city’s distinctive and deeply embedded festival culture.”

Highlights of engagement have included:

  • A new poetry collection called ‘Signal’ written by local writers and poets in the city in response to the artwork and its themes.
  • A new zine on female empowerment and an associated exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers created by young BME women of the Young Saheliya Group.
  • A collection of short stories is to be launched on 18th January, created after working with elderly residents from Port of Leith Housing Association. The publication ‘Women At Work’ is a reminiscence project around working lives and wartime memories.
  • In late December a replica dazzle ship was designed, built and festooned with dazzle decorations as part of the city-wide Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations and the family event Sprogmanay at the National Museum of Scotland.
  • The Schools’ Programme focuses on the opportunities for interdisciplinary learning inherent in the project. Working with pupils from early primary through to high school age, thousands have
  • participated in a range of activities including: producing a 360° film, coding and encoding in morse code workshops, creating stunning wall murals and an all-school Dazzle-focus week (Trinity Primary) that manifested in many ways including dance workshops and a miniature Dazzle boat for the playground

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