A group of 100 young artists will tell Scotland’s First World War story in an exhibition that opens next week.
The Press and Journal has been granted an exclusive look at some of the poignant memorials, 40 of which were produced at Peacock Visual Arts in Aberdeen and the Highland Print Studio in Inverness.
What Do We Learn From All Th1s? combines traditional printmaking with innovative technologies to tell different stories from the conflict.
The matrices used to develop each of the artists’ 100 unique prints will be mounted on wooden plinths, arranged in a map of Scotland, with augmented reality technology allowing visitors to Holyrood to explore all of the stories in detail with an iPad.
The youngsters’ efforts include such commemorations as a tribute to the Aberdeen-based Tocher family, who lost five sons during and after the conflict, and the German navy’s scuttling of their fleet at Scapa Flow, off Orkney.
Niamh Coutts, a student at Gray’s School of Art, examined the series of terrible privations which were experienced by the Tocher clan.
She said: “I was initially drawn to their story because they lived in Rosemount, a place in which I have lived for several years in Aberdeen.
“On reading about their tragic and poignant history, I was moved and felt compelled to find a way to commemorate the Tocher boys.
“George, Robert, John, James and Peter were brothers who fought and perished as a result of WW1. Robert, John and James perished at the Somme and George was killed at the Battle of Menin Road.”
However, Peter died in 1923, in Scotland, after contracting tuberculosis. He had spent some years in a prisoner of war camp after his capture at La Cateau. As Peter’s death was later than the official end of WW1, he was not commemorated with a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone, unlike his brothers.
However, a memorial headstone was erected in Aberdeen’s Trinity Cemetery to commemorate the brothers in 2014.
The depiction of the Scapa Flow scuttling has been done by Craig Mcpherson, who is studying art and design at Inverness High School.
He found it a challenging experience, but was determined to pay his respects to those who fought in the conflict.
He said: “I chose to draw this piece in particular as it explores a more modern side to the story. If you were to go to Scapa Flow today, you would still be able to see the upper parts of some of the wrecks from the war poking above the water.”
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “WW1 affected every village, city and town in Scotland, touching the lives of millions of Scots.
“The past five years have seen people across the country come together to deliver a diverse programme of hugely poignant events and projects in memory of those who lost their lives 100 years ago.
“It is important that we continue to remember World War One and ensure the stories of bravery and sacrifice continue to be passed on.
“The ‘What Do We Learn From All Th1s?’ project aims to provide a perspective on the broad impact of the war on individuals and communities, as seen through the eyes of the next generation.”
The project, facilitated by the Scottish Print Network, marks the culmination of Scotland’s WWI centenary programme.
The exhibition opens at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday and runs until September 20. Entry is free. It is expected to tour the country at a later date.
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