Pith & Power Exhibition

Like brethren wi’ a common cause,
We’d on each other smile, man;
And equal rights and equal laws
Wad gladden every isle, man.

Pith & Power was an illustrated exhibition exploring Robert Burns’ relationship with politics and power at the Saltire Society in Edinburgh, January – March 2018.

Burns was a humanitarian poet who wrote against oppression and injustice. Pith & Power aimed to rediscover the profound meaning behind Burns’ poetry, examine his relationship with power and celebrate his ongoing influence in the Scottish imagination.

Exhibition on Film

Hear more about the ideas behind Pith & Power in this short film produced by the Scots Language Radio (12 minutes in):

Launch Night Photographs – 25 January 2018


The Artwork

See below for one of the new pieces created for the exhibition, ‘Tree of Liberty’, inspired by the Burns poem of the same name. The poem dreams of a world where ‘equal rights and equal laws’ … ‘gladden every isle’.


Part of the exhibition also explored Robert Burns’ reaction to the Act of Union, when Scotland lost its independence in the 18th century. Read more here about this episode here: Parcel of Rogues


End of Exhibition

It was a pleasure to hold this exhibition at the Saltire Society, and to have so many conversations about Burns, politics, language and culture with such a broad variety of visitors from all over the world. The Saltire Society are a real asset to Scotland’s cultural life and have been kind and accommodating hosts. For me the exhibition has been a valuable opportunity to showcase a side of Burns often lost in traditional Burns Suppers, and I hope to exhibit more of this kind of work in the future.