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'Exciting' exhibition to feature North Highland banner art celebrating women's right to vote

By Niall Harkiss

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An "exciting" exhibition of textile banner art made by women across the Highlands will take place in Inverness next month.

Throughout March, the Stalls Gallery at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness will host "Highland Women Making History" – with a display of textile banners made in and by, communities of women across the North Highlands, as part of a giant UK wide collaborative art project managed by Artichoke Art, London.

Young and senior members of North Coast Women attended the processions march in Edinburgh.
Young and senior members of North Coast Women attended the processions march in Edinburgh.


The banners were commissioned to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of women being given the right to vote while also reflecting on the issues important to them.

Highland Artists Chris Hammacott, Alicia Hendrick, Christina Inkster, Lizzie McDougall, Deidre Nelson, Kirsty O’Conner, Alex Patience and Heidi Soos were commissioned to work with women to create banners that illustrate issues important for women everywhere, as well as for individuals and communities.

Women representing areas including the North Coast of Sutherland and Caithness, Isle of Mull, Isle of Lewis, Ross-shire’s east and west coasts, Inverness, the Uists and Shetland, have all participated in the project.

The techniques used in making them are as diverse as the brief given to the artists – ‘to work incommunicado’ – ensuring each one is made in a unique style.

North Coast women taking part in processions on Princes Street in Edinburgh.
North Coast women taking part in processions on Princes Street in Edinburgh.

Organisers say the textiles will give voice to many stories as a "unique" celebration of women living in the Highlands and Islands today.

A spokesperson said: "The banners were originally made for ‘ Processions’, which was a mass participatory artwork created by leading arts event maker, Artichoke, as a Celebration of 100 years of women's suffrage.

"Artichoke Arts then commissioned 100 women artists around the UK to create banners as an expression of gratitude to the women who worked to get women the vote.

"Tens of thousands of women took part in events that included, Processions in 2018 in all 4 UK capitols and also an exhibition in London of all 100 banners. There was to be a UK tour which was cancelled due to Covid, so we are delighted that Eden Court has offered to display the Highland Processions banners in March."

To accompany the 2018 banners, women across the region have been working on making individual textile art pieces with the theme of women’s empowerment and these works will join the exhibition.

North Coast Women banner
North Coast Women banner

During the run of the exhibition, Eden Court’s Jim Love Studio will be the venue for a special event for International Women’s Day, Friday March 8 at 4pm, to explore some of the ongoing challenges women face and to celebrate the impact of women to make the world a better place.

Many of the banner artists will also be on hand to tell the stories illustrated on the artworks.

The event will also include performances from Liza Mullholland and Myra Ross and some of the participants, complemented by a display from Fairtrade Ullapool, showcasing projects which empower women internationally

This will be a unique opportunity to enjoy this inspiring and extraordinary collaboration of women so visit the exhibition between March 3 and March 17 and attend the free event on March 8.

Further details of the banner project can be requested from Lizzie McDougall lizzie.mcdougall@gmail.com and enquiries about the event from Catherine MacNeil via gallery@eden-court.co.uk

For information on all the communities and women involved and for photos of the Caithness and Sutherland Banner, North Coast Women see doc and photos attached or contact Alex Patience 07599760798 / patienceart@yahoo.co.uk.

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