Art Festival commissions Ciara Phillips to 'dazzle' Leith ship

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In January 2016, Edinburgh Art Festival commissioned Turner Prize nominee Ciara Phillips, to 'dazzle' a ship in the port of Leith. The result is the striking colour, complex lines and sheer scale of her piece, Every Woman.

Ms Phillips applied her own interpretation of the 'dazzle' camouflage used on many warships in the First World War, a technique intended to hinder accurate targeting in wartime, through confusing and contrasting colours, patterns and shapes.


The new piece was commissioned in partnership with 14-18 NOW, a programme of arts experiences related to the First World War, and was unveiled in the port of Leith on 28 May before forming a central part of August's Edinburgh Art Festival.

When the project was first announced, Janet Archer, CEO, Creative Scotland, said:

Creative Scotland is proud to be working in partnership with 14-18 NOW to support extraordinary events in Scotland in 2016 that will both commemorate the First World War and connect people with its powerful stories.

The ship chosen for 'dazzling' was the MV Fingal, berthed in Leith, and now owned by the Royal Yacht Britannia, which will later begin the process of converting the ship into a 'boatique hotel'. 


Rear Admiral Neil Rankin CB CBE, Chairman, The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, said:

We are delighted that our new acquisition MV Fingal has been chosen to be dazzle painted, because of the significant role the Historic Port of Leith played in WWI, and 1916 being a particularly noteworthy year: with events including the German Zeppelin air raid bombing of the docks that April, followed by the departure in May of the ships in the Grand Fleet, heading for the Battle of Jutland.

Modern day Dazzle Ships have previously been revealed in Liverpool and London, as part of the UK’s official centenary commemorations, and Ms Phillips' work will be the fourth in the series.  

Edinburgh Art Festival runs from 28 July – 28 August 2016. Find out more, including links for detailed programme and ticketing information on our Festival page.

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A version of this story originally appeared on 22 January 2016.

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