2021 marks the centenary of the artist Joan Eardley (1921-1963) recognised as one of Scotland’s most significant post-war artists. Eardley’s work has a sense of immediacy and power which is still felt today. Her pioneering work advanced modern painting in Scotland and it had parallels with avant-garde movements internationally.
This poetry competition invites participants to be inspired by the visual art of Eardley held in the Paisley Museum collection. What does Eardley’s work mean to you? How does it make you feel? Can you imagine Eardley’s Townhead studio? What did Eardley sense when she painted at the cliff edge in Catterline in the north east of Scotland?
This competition is open to everyone, from school age to adults. Poems will be judged, and winning entries displayed online to mark this important year. All formats of poems will be considered – there is no wrong way to submit! Please find examples below for inspiration.
Entries should be sent via email to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please add your name, age and where you are from to the email
The competition closes 31st July 2021 with winners to be announced shortly afterwards.
Joan Eardley, Boy on Stool, Paisley Museum and Art Galleries, Renfrewshire Leisure held on behalf of Renfrewshire Council © the Eardley Estate
Joan Eardley, Winter Stacks, Paisley Museum and Art Galleries, Renfrewshire Leisure held on behalf of Renfrewshire Council © the Eardley Estate
Dr Helen Tookey is a Senior Lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University and has written poetry inspired by the life and work of Joan Eardley. We reproduce an example here with her permission:
white rag of shirt on a clothesline
cottage sliding away downhill
shell of a house sailcloth walls
what you needed was weather
snowlight smear of sun
in summer the grasses’ streak and scatter
but most of all water
its ways of breaking
ice wall light fracture
you for hours standing alone
at the tideline
the point of shatter
© Helen Tookey
Paisley Museum is running a programme of dedicated activities to celebrate Eardley’s life and work. We will acknowledge her importance as a woman artist when the art world was still so closed to women. The more personal aspects of her life will be explored; Eardley was gay and lived openly in Catterline with women partners (when homosexuality was illegal) and she lived with depression throughout her adult life.
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