A Gude Cause Maks A Strong Erm – watch on YouTube

Animation

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.

St Andrew is crucified on a saltire. A Roman legionary says "He said a crucifix was too good for him", to which another replies "Christ Almighty!". An evil cherubic Britannia hovers over Andrew with a trident and Union-flag shield. Caption reads "The Patron Saint of Cringe."

The Patron Saint of Cringe

St Andrew is crucified on a saltire. A Roman legionary says "He said a crucifix was too good for him", to which another replies "Christ Almighty!". An evil cherubic Britannia hovers over Andrew with a trident and Union-flag shield. Caption reads "The Patron Saint of Cringe."
The Patron Saint of Cringe. Cartoon for the November 2018 edition of iScot magazine. Pen, ink & gouache.

Andrew: the patron saint of Scottish Cringe

This cartoon was created to accompany the Orkney News article in the November 2018 edition of iScot magazine. The article is about St Andrew’s Fair Saturday 2018, which is a day of events promoting positive social change throughout the world. It is a response to the unsustainable consumerism embodied by Black Friday.

According to Biblical legend, Roman senator Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeanus sentenced Andrew the Apostle to death by crucifixion in Achaea (Greece). Andrew supposedly didn’t feel himself worthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus Christ, and the fair-minded Lucius had him bound to an X-shaped cross (crux decussata) instead.

Centuries later, Óengus mac Fergusa, King of the Picts, is said to have selected the saltire as the emblem of Scotland following a successful battle against the Angles (and a vision of the crux decussata in the sky).

Having its roots in a story about St. Andrew’s feelings of unworthiness, the saltire seems an appropriate symbol for a people afflicted by the ‘Scottish cringe‘. Many a self-proclaimed Proud Scot resists the idea the people of Scotland have the wit or resources to govern themselves

A lurid screen print of Scottish literary figure James Boswell. Bright yellow, red, pink and green. Behind him is an African woman with dark bars infront of her. Text says "I do indeed come from Scotland, but I cannot help it", with the words "Proud Scot" at the bottom.

Scottish Cringe: James Boswell

A lurid screen print of Scottish literary figure James Boswell. Bright yellow, red, pink and green. Behind him is an African woman with dark bars infront of her. Text says "I do indeed come from Scotland, but I cannot help it", with the words "Proud Scot" at the bottom.
Scottish Cringe: James Boswell. Screen print, 30x42cm, 2017.

Scottish Cringe: James Boswell

Original artworks for sale, from a limited edition print run of 24. Visit the online store here: https://martinlaird.scot/store/.


 

Portrait of James Boswell, noted Scottish biographer of English literary figure Samuel Johnson, after Joshua Reynolds’ portrait of 1785.
Boswell was a great admirer of Johnson. Aware of the contempt Johnson had for the Scots, his words upon meeting were:

“Mr. Johnson, I do indeed come from Scotland, but I cannot help it.”

 

James Boswell was born in 1740, thirty-three years after the Act of Union. In his lifetime Scotland underwent dramatic cultural changes. Boswell enjoyed the fruits of the British Empire, lived the life of Riley, and became an advocate of slavery (which Johnson was not).

The ‘Scottish cringe’ is a cultural inferiority complex supposedly afflicting the Scots. It can be a two-edged sword.