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Unveiled [Officially] - The First Scottish Diaspora Panels ..

Finally, we can see how it's going to look .. 500mm x 500mm ...

The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry is 10 times the challenge the Prestonpans Tapestry was in 2009/ 2010. It's not just a question of co-ordinating stitchers across the Highlands/ Lowlands and France. This time they're in 25 countries across the globe, many no longer speaking English or even Gaelic. Gillian Hart and Yvonne Murphy have traversed the globe from Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Italy and Germany to China, India and Australia. Each time they are meeting Scots across the diaspora, gathering their stories, recruiting stitchers, creating and agreeing designs, shipping linens and wools and keeping their fingers crossed. Andrew Crummy is once again the artist/ designer with 150 to create. Arran Johnston [working with Beathag Moireasdan for Gaelic translations] is mandated to build and sustain the website ... and create the eventual Official 3 language Guidebook and music CD.

Launch dates are in 2014 for the second Scottish Homecoming. Exhibitions will run at the Fringe of the Royal MOD, at St Mary's Cathedral and the National Story Telling Centre in Edinburgh, in Stirling at Bannockburn 'anniversary time', and of course at 3 Harbours 2014 in Prestonpans. But the team wanted to cut its teeth with an initial unveiling, to get a feel for how it might all be presented in 2014, when 150 panels are to hand not just the first 11. And they wanted to reassure their sponsors at Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government and Bord na Gaidhlig that all would be well.

So, on June 3rd Cabinet Secretary for Culture Fiona Hyslop had her third encounter with community art from the Pans as she came to the Community Centre and officially 'unveiled' the panels from Barga and Gothenburg, from Italy and Sweden. Andrew Crummy, the Tapestry's designing artist, showed her round. The Scotsman's photographer Phil Wilkinson was there and captured almost all the images for the newspaper the following day. Also there were Rigo and Anne Capanni representing Barga, John Gilmour of the Scottish Swedish Association, David Taylor from Creative Scotland, Caroline Packman who is Director Homecoming 2014, Jamie Stead from the Government's Diaspora Division and many of the blockers and finishers of the panels from The Pans.

The BBC Web-News carried the story and Tony Marsh captured these iconic photographs of Fiona Hyslop and another of Andrew Crummy both below... captions please?

The stories behind each of the panels are available at the website LINKED DIRECTLY HERE
... link first to Countries then Italy and Sweden.

The Cabinet Secretary made a short speech ... well worth reading so here it is. It was also caught in part on YouTube which is linked here as well.

"I am delighted to be here today in Prestonpans at the 3 Harbours Festival to unveil the first completed panels from the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry.

"This exciting and innovative project is being supported by the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Homecoming Scotland and BÚrd na Gŗidhlig and builds on the success of the Prestoungrange Arts Festival's Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry, which is also being displayed today in its full glory.

"The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry will tell the stories of Scotlandís Diaspora from 25 countries across the world, including China, India, USA, Australia and France through a series of beautifully embroidered panels.

"Their combined stories will pay homage to the incredible determination and courage of Scots over the centuries who emigrated to find a new life for themselves and their families.

"The panels I have unveiled today tell the story of Scotlandís Diaspora community in Gothenburg, Sweden and reverse Diaspora from Barga, Italy. Hundreds of volunteers within the Diaspora communities are helping to identify the stories and sew the panels.

"Using their stories and their design input, Andrew Crummy is creating outline designs for the linen panels. This ensures an artistic consistency to the project and encourages individual interpretations so that local traditions are reflected.

"Indeed, before they make their way to Scotland the completed panels will be exhibited in their relevant Diaspora communities, with associated events and performances. This will encourage many more people to become engaged in the project and raise awareness of Scotland as a destination.

"The Tapestry, when completed, will form part of the Homecoming Scotland celebrations next Year. Homecoming 2014 will position Scotland on the international stage as a dynamic and creative country with a rich history and culture, extending the benefits of the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games in what will be a momentous year for Scotland.

"It is estimated that 50 million people world-wide can claim Scottish ancestry. We take great pride in our culture and heritage; and a project such as this is a very tangible demonstration of how to celebrate and educate people about Scotlandís rich and diverse Diaspora. It reflects Scotlandís place in the world and tells a story that Scots and Scots at heart can learn from.

"I am delighted to have the opportunity to spotlight the already impressive start to the project and I very much look forward to seeing the completed tapestry in 2014, when it will be displayed across Scotland in locations that include Stirling, Inverness, Edinburgh and East Lothian as part of the Homecoming celebrations."

Published Date: June 5th 2013

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