News / ‘We Are Here’ exhibition

Around 40 Shetlanders participated in the national We Are Here event to commemorate the Battle of the Somme, gathering at St Ninian's Isle amongst other places, back in July 2016.

AN EXHIBITION telling the story of an award-winning contemporary memorial of the First World War will be on show at Bonhoga Gallery starting later this month.

Shetland Arts will present We’re here because we’re here following on from last year’s memorial marking the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, which captured the imagination of many on 1 July 2016.

Thousands of volunteers across the UK took part in the event, initiated by 14-18 NOW and the National Theatre of Great Britain, which saw participants dressed in First World War uniform appear unexpectedly in various locations between 7am and 7pm on the day.

Working with the National Theatre of Scotland, Shetland was one of only two locations in Scotland to take part in the project. The young men were a reminder of the 19,240 men killed on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Each participant represented an individual soldier who was killed on that day.


From Saturday 20 January until Sunday 18 March, Bonhoga Gallery will exhibit photographs and film documenting the impact of the moving public artwork.

The exhibition’s public opening will take place on Friday 19 January at the slightly earlier than usual time of 5.30-7pm. Refreshments will be provided and everyone is welcome.

In the lower gallery will be a range of limited edition prints from Shetland-born artist Ellie Mulhern. A classically-trained singer turned painter, her current work captures the beauty and expanse of the Shetland night sky.

To tie in with We’re here because we’re here, Mareel will screen four films set during the First World War – Paths of Glory, Testament of Youth, War Horse and a new adaptation of Journey’s End – between 21 January and 8 March.

The first screening – Paths of Glory on Sunday 21 January at 2pm – will be introduced by history teacher and First World War scholar Jon Sandison.

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More information and screening dates can be found here

Audiences will also be able to watch the recent Shetland Youth Theatre production In the Still of the Night Have We Wept online on the Shetland Arts website from Friday 19 January.

A powerful and moving performance based on the poetry of the First World War, the piece was entirely devised and shaped by the young participants, who learned that the emotions expressed in verse 100 years ago are still as relevant and fresh today.

The production, directed by John Haswell, was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and was filmed in the Garrison Theatre by local filmmaker JJ Jamieson. More information can be found.

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