Ciara Phillips: Now for Something Completely Different – “Dazzle” a Ship
When I wrote previously about my cousin, Ciara Phillips, she had been nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize in 2014 (https://artappreciation101.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/Ciara-Phillips-2014-turner-prize-nominee/). Since that time she has not been idle, continuing her print-making practice through the artist collective that she founded, Poster Club, taking her ongoing project Workshop (2010 -) on the road to a number of countries and holding solo exhibitions in Stockholm, London, and Norway.
And now for something completely different, Ciara has been commissioned by the Edinburgh Art Festival to “dazzle” a ship. The work will be part of the 2016 arts festival program designed to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
For the curious, “Dazzle Ships” refers to a practice begun in 1917 where camouflage paint was used to cover ships in various geometric patterns in order to make it difficult for enemy gunners to estimate a ship’s size, speed and the direction it was travelling.
Ciara has brought her considerable artistic skills and imagination to the task of creating a dazzle design for a former lighthouse boat, the MV Fingal, that ferried supplies to Scotland’s remote lighthouses, and is now berthed at the Prince of Wales Dock in the port of Leith, Scotland. The dazzled ship will be launched on June 2, 2016, to mark the centenary of the Battle of Jutland.
Ciara has renamed the ship “Every Woman” as a salute to the contributions women made during the First World War especially in the Signals Corps as telegraph operators. Using reflective paint Ciara and her crew have included within the design pattern the message “Every Woman a Signal Tower”.
A few weeks ago, we visited Ciara at her exhibition and print making studio, Cold Friends, Warm Cash, at the Western Front in Vancouver. Her month-long residency at the Front was unique for the artist in that Ciara was working exclusively with children (age 6 – 10 years of age) introducing them to screen print techniques in the creation of posters, banners and printed fabrics. In an interview with the magazine Canadian Art, Ciara said this about her experience: “…kids are extremely imaginative and extremely uninhibited in terms of expressing what they want… That’s different – very different – than working with adults.”
Ciara is a very talented artist who seems to thrive on new challenges and continues to find new ways to express her creative energy.