Dazzle Ship
2 June—31 January 2017

  • Ciara Phillips, Every Woman

  • Ciara Phillips, Every Woman, 2016, photo by Ross Fraser McLean / StudioRoRo

  • Ciara Phillips, Every Woman, 2016, photo by Ross Fraser McLean / StudioRoRo

  • Ciara Phillips, Every Woman, 2016, photo by Ross Fraser McLean / StudioRoRo


Ciara Phillips’ Every Woman, co-commissioned by Edinburgh Art Festival and 14-18 NOW, was the fourth in a series of dazzle ship artworks developed by contemporary artists to commemorate the First World War. It was on display from 26 May - 31 January 2017. 


Ciara Phillips' artwork Every Woman for Dazzle Ship Scotland was on display in Prince of Wales Dock, Leith, Edinburgh from 26 May 2016 - 31 January 2017.

The process of de-commissioning the ship as an artwork is now in progress. The MV Fingal is being painted from the Every Woman artwork and painted and prepared for her next role in life, and we will be handing her back to her owners, The Royal Yacht Britannia, very soon (February 2017). If you visit Prince of Wales Dock after 6 February 2017 you may see some of this work in process.

Below is the history and concept surrounding Dazzle Ships, and the wider project - based on an initial idea proposed by Liverpool Biennial and developed by the major cultural programme to mark the centenary of the First World War, 14-18 NOW. Included is information about the Turner Prize-Nominated artist Ciara Philips and her artwork for Every Woman, and a selection of films about the making of Dazzle Ship and what the creation of the project has meant. Project work continues with selected community partners until April 2017. 

Dazzle: A Short History
Designed not to camouflage, but to distort a ship’s appearance when viewed through a telescope, ‘Dazzle’ was developed by the British marine artist Norman Wilkinson to counter the threat posed by German U-Boats. Using strongly contrasting blocks of colour, stripes and curves, dazzle designs transformed ships into a confusing array of multi-directional shapes, making it difficult to gauge a ship’s direction or speed. 

Artist: Ciara Phillips
Nominated for the Turner Prize in 2014, Ciara Phillips works mainly in the medium of printmaking, attracted both by the physical process itself, as well as the long established history of print as a medium for exploring and expressing political and social ideas. Often working on a large scale, Phillips has co-opted entire rooms as surfaces on which to apply her prints, bringing together multiple layers of individual images and repeated pattern in a single installation. Every Woman significantly expands this approach, drawing on several of Phillips’ earlier screenprints to cover the entire surface of the ship with a bold gestural design.

Phillips has a longstanding interest in signs and signals, and overlaid on the surface of Every Woman is an encoded message painted in retro-reflective pigment. Celebrating the ship’s former role as a lighthouse tender (for over 30 years, the MV Fingal worked to bring supplies to some of Scotland’s most remote lighthouses), Phillips’ message – Every Woman a Signal Tower – will shine out through the darkness at night-time.

In developing her design, Phillips was drawn to the lesser known histories of women in the First World War. The vast majority of dazzle designs were devised by a largely female team working under Norman Wilkinson in a dedicated department established in the Royal Academy, London; and across Edinburgh, Scotland and the UK, women entered the workplace in a wide array of roles (including as telegraphists and signallers) as part of the extended war effort. 

Dazzle Ship: Time-lapse A quickened up film of how the Dazzle Ship Scotland artwork was created over 6 weeks - watch it here.

The Making of Dazzle Ship
Delve into the interesting history of dazzle ships and watch interview footage with the artist Ciara Phillips and hear about her inspiration behind the project, why they were originally designed and created, and why the modern series was commissioned. 

Ciara Phillips' Every Woman is co-commissioned by Edinburgh Art Festival and 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions with support from Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council, The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, Forth Ports, Sherwin-Williams, the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and by the Department for Culture Media and Sport.

The Dazzle Ship series is co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, Liverpool Biennial, Tate Liverpool and Chelsea College University of the Arts. In association with Merseyside Maritime Museum and HMS President (1918). 
The time-lapse film was kindly filmed and edited by Edinburgh-based creative agency, and neighbours to Dazzle Ship, Lewis 


2 June 2016 —31 January 2017


MV Fingal,
Prince of Wales Dock
Leith, EH6 7DX 

The Dazzle Ship is no longer on display.  

Map will go here