On the 15th anniversary of the official opening of the Parliament in 1999, one of Scotland’s most ambitious community arts projects, the Great Tapestry of Scotland, has returned to the Scottish Parliament.
To commemorate this historic anniversary, the Presiding Officer launched a call for people from across Scotland to help stitch a new ‘People’s Panel’. ‘The People’s Panel’ is a colourful commemoration of the Scottish Parliament building and its link to the Tapestry, created by artist Andrew Crummy.
Once the ‘People’s Panel’ is complete, it will hang in the Scottish Parliament as part of the permanent art collection.
The Tapestry opens to the public today and will remain on display until Saturday 13 September.
The Presiding Officer, the Rt Hon Tricia Marwick MSP said:
“Viewing the completed Tapestry at Holyrood for the first time is a breath taking experience. It is particularly fitting that this wonderful display of Scotland’s history returned on the day that we celebrate the Parliament’s 15th anniversary.
“Each and every panel featured in the Tapestry is testament to hours of effort that beautifully capture Scotland’s rich and diverse history.”
On the opportunity to help create a new panel, Mrs Marwick said:
“I am looking forward to welcoming the people of Scotland to the Parliament to stitch their way into the history of their Parliament. This will create a permanent legacy of the Tapestry at Holyrood and the work of so many hands.”
Measuring 143 metres long, the Great Tapestry of Scotland is the longest in the world. The 160 beautifully detailed panels capture unique moments in time during Scotland’s 420 million year history. This stunning piece of art was devised by Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith along with historian Alistair Moffat and artist Andrew Crummy.
One thousand stitchers aged from 4 to 94 brought Scotland’s history to life through embroidery. The work took more than 50,000 hours to complete and already more than 100,000 people from Scotland, Europe and beyond have viewed the Tapestry in locations across Scotland since it was first unveiled in the Scottish Parliament in September 2013.
Alexander McCall Smith said:
'When the Tapestry last came to the Parliament a few panels had yet to be completed. Now that work is done and we see it in its full glory, displayed for the people of Scotland and visitors to Scotland, in the building that is at the very heart of Scotland’s public life.
“I am particularly pleased that those who missed it in Edinburgh last year will now have the chance to see this extraordinarily beautiful work of art and to marvel at all the love that has been put into it by over a thousand artistic volunteers throughout Scotland. The opening to the public of the full display will be a very important moment for all of us who have been involved in this project.”
On the design of the ‘People’s Panel’, artist Andrew Crummy said:
“For me, getting to know and understand the vision of architecture of the Scottish Parliament building has revealed layers of meaning that reference Scottish identity and history. The panel design hopefully reflects what an extraordinary building it is and its vision for what democracy stands for in Scotland's future.”
The Presiding Officer stitched the first and final stitch of the Great Tapestry of Scotland before it opened at the Scottish Parliament in September 2013. It has since toured the country.
The opportunity to stitch the ‘People’s Panel’ will operate on a first come, first served basis, during selected times until the 13 September. Experienced stitchers will be on hand to guide those with no or limited experience of stitching to make their mark on history.
The tapestry will be exhibited in the Main Hall of the Scottish Parliament between 1 July - 13 September (please note the Parliament is open Monday-Saturday). Entry to see the Tapestry is free.
Beautifully illustrating the history of Scotland, from a land locked in ice and carved by glaciers, to the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, the panels depict Scotland’s fascinating history, science, culture, industry and politics over the centuries
There will also be a number of events held in the Parliament that celebrate the Tapestry’s creation.