Press release

New symposium to celebrate centenary of Scottish art icon

Published on 26 May 2021

The career of one of Scotland’s most beloved painters will be celebrated by the nation’s next generation of artists at an event hosted by the University of Dundee.

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Students from the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD) will reinterpret the work of Joan Eardley, famous for her representations of everyday Scotland in the twentieth century, to celebrate the centenary of her birth.

The free, online symposium, Joan Eardley: New Perspectives, will also include contributions from DJCAD staff, special guests and keynote speakers, with the event taking place on Wednesday 2 June.

“Joan Eardley has had an extraordinary influence over practitioners working across the art world today,” said Dr Helen Gorrill, Lecturer in Contemporary Art Practice at DJCAD.

“As an honorary Scot, Eardley fell in love with our North-East coast and became at one with her surroundings. She painted Scotland as it’s never been painted before, smashing through the glass ceiling as the waves literally crashed against her canvas as she worked on the beach.

“Her work is hugely important to the future histories of Scottish art. She left a legacy of determination that will inspire generations of new artists for decades to come, which is why we’re seeing such a buzz of excitement around her centenary.

“The unprecedented interest in this symposium shows that Eardley’s remarkable legacy is projected into the future, through new and exciting bodies of work being created across Scotland and the UK.”

Born in the Sussex village of Warnham in 1921, Eardley is considered an adopted Scot within the art world. With her family having moved to Glasgow’s Bearsden in 1940, she enrolled at the Glasgow School of Art, where she forged her reputation with an exhibition of paintings created while travelling in Italy.

From there her work focused on the city of Glasgow and its people, before later in her life concentrating on the coastline of Catterline, Aberdeenshire, and its surrounding landscape. Widely regarded as one of the country’s most important and inspirational painters, she passed away from breast cancer in 1963, aged just 42.

Joan Eardley: New Perspectives will feature work by DJCAD students in film, installation, textiles and paint, presenting their thoughts on Eardley’s work and how it relates to their own practices. The symposium will also feature keynote addresses by Alice Strang, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Galleries of Scotland, and award-winning painter and DJCAD alumni, Anna King.

The event is organised by INGEAR at DJCAD (Intersectional Gender Equality in the Arts Research), supporting marginalised artists and promoting better equalities in the art world.

Joan Eardley: New Perspectives, will place online on Wednesday 2 June, from 2-5pm. The event is free and registration can be completed online.


Jonathan Watson

Senior Press Officer

+44 (0)1382 381489