New show carries island women’s banner

The Mull and Iona banner celebrating the islands' inspirational women

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A banner made by Mull and Iona women is going on show alongside work from top fashion designer Vivienne Westwood as part of a new Women Making History exhibition.

It is one of more than 100 other hand-crafted banners originally commissioned for a mass-participation artwork called Processions back in June 2018 when tens of thousands of women took to the streets in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London to mark the centenary since the first UK women were allowed to vote.

The exhibition at London Scottish House in Westminster is on now until July 11 but can also be viewed remotely on Google Arts & Culture. A special exhibition guide
can also be found on Bloomberg Connects, a free digital guide to cultural
organisations around the world.

Mull and Iona’s banner takes the shape of a sail held aloft by oars and includes net that was handmade under the instruction of a former salmon fisher woman. At its centre, a map of Mull is filled with images of local women and in the sea around it Mull beeswax has been used to inscribed the names of admired women past and present – including Mull councillor Mary-Jean Devon.

Tweed made by the Ardalanish Weavers has been appliquéd onto the map of Iona and The Sound of Iona Tartan appliquéd to create a compass featuring lyrics, words and poetry from island writers.

The sash across it carries the words We Know Where We’re Going, a slogan taken from the Powell and Pressburger film, I Know Where I’m Going, which was filmed on Mull in the 1940s.

Alicia Hendrick was the lead artist who created the banner with the Mull and Iona women. She told the Oban Times: ‘I am thrilled that our banner is to be included in this exhibition alongside the other 113 commissioned banners.

Multi-arts organisation Comar in Tobermory hosted the Mull and Iona project but the banner belongs to the women who created it and who voted unanimously to take part in the Women Making History exhibition, she added.