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Wrong on every level

"Wrong on Every Level". Exhibition at the Northlight Gallery, Stromness, September 28th to October 9th 2019.
Exhibition at the Northlight Gallery, Stromness, September 28th to October 9th 2019.

“Wrong on every level”

An exhibition of artwork by Martin Laird will be held at the Northlight Gallery in Stromness from September 28th to October 9th 2019.

The work on show will largely comprise of cartoons created for The Orkney News to accompany articles in iScot magazine. These cover a wide variety of subjects relating to Orcadian history and culture.

Also on show will be some fine-art quality digital animation stills from A Gude Cause maks a Strong Erm, which recently won in the category of Most Creative/Original at the Scottish Short Film Festival 2019, has played at several other film festivals, and been chosen for the “coups de coeur” selection at the Paris International Animation Film Festival.

The opening weekend of the exhibition is also Blues Festival weekend in Stromness, which is sure to be a good time!

Mrs Baikie of Tankerness, after a portrait by Stanley Cursiter

Mrs Baikie of Tankerness

Mrs Baikie of Tankerness, after a portrait by Stanley Cursiter
Mrs Baikie of Tankerness, after a portrait by Stanley Cursiter. Animation still comprised of digitally combined gouache paintings.

Mrs. Baikie of Tankerness, after a portrait by Stanley Cursiter which hangs in the Orkney Museum in Tankerness House. At one time Tankerness House belonged to the Baikie family, and was used for meetings of the Orcadian Woman’s Suffrage Society.

Drawing of HMS Pheasant, an Admiralty M-class Destroyer, with a mine

HMS Pheasant

Drawing of HMS Pheasant, an Admiralty M-class Destroyer, with a mine
HMS Pheasant, chalk & charcoal on watercolour, 2019.

HMS Pheasant was an Admiralty M-class Destroyer based in Orkney during WW1. Due to its strategic importance, Scapa Flow was the main base of the British Grand Fleet during both World Wars.

In the early hours of the 1st of March 1917, HMS Pheasant exploded with the loss of all hands. It had only recently been launched, on 23rd of October 1916. It is thought that the ship hit a mine.

Only one body was ever recovered, that of Midshipman Reginald Cotter, who was still alive when pulled from the water and is now buried in the Lyness Naval Cemetery on Hoy.

What happened to HMS Pheasant was virtually forgotten until a maritime survey conducted by Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA), the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute and SULA Diving located its remains off the coast of Rora Head, Hoy.

The background of the ship’s 89 strong crew is a slice of early 20th Century society in Britain. The men were from varied cultural backgrounds. There is currently no memorial to them, and many of their relatives never found out what happened. Since writing about the subject for The Orkney News, Fiona Grahame has been contacted by some family members, and has been uncovering their often remarkable stories.

A documentary about this tragedy, to focus on the lives of the individual crewmen, is currently in pre-production by The Orkney News team. We are seeking financial backing to take this project forward – if you are in a position to help with this, please get in touch via the contact form on this site or https://theorkneynews.scot.

This project follows on from our animated telling of the Orcadian Woman’s Suffrage Society, A Gude Cause Maks A Strong Erm, which will shortly be showing at the Scottish Short Film Festival at the Art School in Glasgow, on Saturday 27th of July. Tickets are for the film festival are available from https://www.scottishshortfilmfestival.com/. A trailer showcasing the short films to be featured can be viewed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNW5I7DuJcY.

A Gude Cause Maks A Strong Erm poster - official selection for the Scottish Short Film Festival 2019

A Gude Cause Maks A Strong Erm – watch on YouTube

A Gude Cause Maks A Strong Erm – the animated story of the Orcadian Woman’s Suffrage Society, as told by The Orkney News.

Research and writing by Fiona Grahame.

Art and animation by Martin Laird.

Music by James Watson.

Narrated by Kim Foden.

 

Dramatic clouds over Hoy, seen from the ferry from Moaness to Houton.

Photographs of Hoy

Photographs of Hoy

Photographs of Hoy taken in March 2019, on a bicycle camping trip to Rackwick. Although the weather was mild for the time of year, it was very windy on the clifftops. The hills of Hoy attract rainclouds. The weather was unpredicatable and there were several heavy downpours, but it stayed fine for a walk to Rora Head and the Old Man of Hoy.

poster for A Gude Cause Maks A Strong Erm, the story of the Orcadian Woman's Suffrage Society. Showing at the Phoenix Cinema in the Pickaquoy Centre, Kirkwall, alongside selected films from 5th to 11th of March.

A Gude Cause Maks A Strong Erm premiere

poster for A Gude Cause Maks A Strong Erm, the story of the Orcadian Woman's Suffrage Society. Showing at the Phoenix Cinema in the Pickaquoy Centre, Kirkwall, alongside selected films from 5th to 11th of March.
‘A Gude Cause Maks A Strong Erm’ launch poster

A Gude Cause Maks A Strong Erm premiere

International Women’s Day 2019 is on the 8th of March. To coincide with this the Phoenix Cinema at the Pickaquoy Centre in Kirkwall will be showing a week of films featuring female leads and directors.

A Gude Cause Maks A Strong Erm, the animated story of the Orcadian Woman’s Suffrage Society as told by The Orkney News, will be shown before these selected films. It premieres alongside Can You Ever Forgive Me, which stars Melissa McCarthy and Richard E Grant, and was directed by Marielle Heller.

Thank you to the staff at the Pickaquoy Centre who have made it possible to see the animation on the big screen. Thanks also to the Scottish Government Centenary Fund, without whom this project would not have happened.

Still from A Gude Cause Maks A Strong Erm, the animated story of the Orcadian Woman's Suffrage Society, showing artist Stanley Cursiter with Phyllis Hourston

A Gude Cause Maks A Strong Erm – Stanley Cursiter & Phyllis Hourston

Still from A Gude Cause Maks A Strong Erm, the animated story of the Orcadian Woman's Suffrage Society, showing artist Stanley Cursiter with Phyllis Hourston
The artist Stanley Cursiter with Phyllis Hourston

A Gude Cause Maks A Strong Erm

A Gude Cause Maks A Strong Erm, the animated story of the Orcadian Woman’s Suffrage Society, is now all but complete. It will be available soon.

The story, which is largely forgotten and previously untold, was researched and written by Fiona Grahame of The Orkney News. Narration was provided by Kim Foden, with a moving musical score by James Watson.

Campaigning for women to have the right to vote took place from the latter half of the 19th Century, up to the start of the First World War. Orcadian suffragists were part of that activism.

The artist Stanley Cursiter was associated with the Orcadian Woman’s Suffrage Society. He designed their banner (of which sadly only a written description survives), and married Phyllis Hourston, a member of the society.

This artistic connection served as an inspiration for the animation. The intention was to make a moving painting. As such, all the art was hand painted in gouache on watercolour paper. It was then photographed, digitally collaged, and animated on a computer.

This animation project has been a joy to work on. Thanks especially to The Scottish Government Centenary Fund, without whom it would not have been possible.

Two pigs in yellow vests beating up a black sheep which a grinning skeleton in a top hat looks on. Gammon is Great.

Gammon is Great

Two pigs in yellow vests beating up a black sheep which a grinning skeleton in a top hat looks on. Gammon is Great.
Pineapple Gammons in the Banana Kakistocracy, gouache & black ink, 2019.

Pineapple Gammons in the Banana Kakistocracy

Gammon is Great! Pineapple Gammons in yellow vests take back control of the Great Banana United Kakistocracy, under the approving gaze of a Skeleton Lord.