Oil PaintScottish Harlequin, 202024 x 31"

If you feel you “belong” to a place, does that make you of that place, whether you live there or not? What if you have other places that form part of you? My painting is “Scottish Harlequin”. Originally a harlequin’s costume was “shreds and patches” (as in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “a wandering minstrel, I, a thing of shreds and patches”) so my harlequin is a patchwork of Scotland and Scottishness. In the bottom left black triangle are the words for homeland in Urdu, Persian, Gaelic, Chinese, Polish, Spanish, Italian, Yiddish, Irish, German, Greek, and English, as some of the backgrounds of us Scots who call this land home. There are scenes of our work and heritage, of our landscapes, our rain, our seas, our poetry, our life, but at the heart of the painting are lines from Burns’ “A man’s a man”. What does Scottish mean? I hope, above all, it means this recognition of our common humanity. My own poem in the painting reads: “The tartan is a weave of threads/Browns and yellows/Whites and reds/Dour subdued or rainbow hued/A Scotsman is a weave of threads”.