Scottish Diaspora Tapestry in Westminster

Global art project, Scottish Diaspora Tapestry, has returned to the UK and will be exhibited for the first time in its entirety in Westminster Hall at the Houses of Parliament, London.

Scottish Prime Ministers, Scottish Diaspora Tapestry

Scottish Prime Ministers panel, part of the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry. Credit: Prestoungrange Arts Festival

This month, Westminster Hall and the Houses of Parliament will host the free exhibition, The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry. Running from 20 March to 29 April, the exhibition includes 305 hand-embroidered panels that celebrate the achievements of the Scottish diaspora, ranging from the 10 Scots who have held the office of Prime Minister in the UK, to the Scots that first introduced football to Argentina and Brazil, through to the personal histories of families worldwide.

The unique art project, inspired by the success of The Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry – an extraordinary 104-metre artwork, embroidered by 200 volunteers from around Scotland, and which tells the story of the Jacobite campaign of 1745 – involved Scottish communities from around the globe in telling their stories of heritage and culture, with panels created in 33 countries including Russia, Jamaica, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Ethiopia and even Antarctica.

Crown Court Church panel, part of Scottish Diaspora Tapestry

Crown Court Church panel, part of Scottish Diaspora Tapestry. Credit: Prestoungrange Arts Festival

An initiative of The Prestoungrange Arts Festival in Prestonpans, Scotland, the project, which started in 2012, requested story submissions from around the world. Once a story was historically verified, a designer would sketch the design onto linen and then return the linen with wool to the communities where the story originated with instructions for how to stitch the panel.

The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry will be on public display at Westminster Hall from Monday 20 March to Saturday 29 April, 9am to 5.30pm (closed on Sundays and public holidays, 14 and 17 April 2017). Entrance is via the Cromwell Green entrance where exhibition tickets will be issued. 

Each tapestry panel can also be viewed online with a full accompanying explanation and history of the piece, www.scottishdiasporatapestry.org

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Written by Heidi Finnane // 9th March 2017

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