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Angus Og exhibitions set to pop up across the Highlands and Islands as part of ‘Out of the Archives Tour’

Catherine MacPhee

High Life Highland are delighted to have secured Highland Council Ward Discretionary Funding to take a new pop-up exhibition of Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre’s Angus Og Cartoons on tour across the Highlands and Islands.

The ‘Angus Og: Out of the Archives Tour’ will feature specially selected Angus Og cartoons which spark discussion about Island and Highland futures, open to all members of the public, and is suitable for all ages.

Angus Og was created by cartoonist Ewen Bain and his adventures were based on the fabled Isle of Drambeg in the Utter Hebrides. Angus Og began in the Bulletin and was published in the Daily Record from 1960 through to 1989.

There were 158 Angus Og adventures, and the collection of original strips has been donated to the Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre by Ewen’s daughter Rhona Flin.

Catherine MacPhee, High Life Highland’s Archivist at Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre, said: “The Angus Og cartoons are important not just for the Isle of Skye, but as part of Scotland’s social history.

“As well as being nationally well-known and loved, the iconic cartoons featuring wily characters relate to social-political issues that are still poignant today, including: the loss of language, impacts of tourism, and social imbalances.

“The tour is set to be a pop-up exhibition of specially selected Angus Og cartoons, alongside opportunities for people to get creative and vocalise issues presently affecting their local community.

“All staff and volunteers involved in the ‘Out of the Archives Tour’ are looking forward to meeting with communities across the Highland Council area to hear local views and share some of these fun Angus Og stories together.”

Katharine Macfarlane, High Life Highland’s Archives Project Officer whose post is supported by the Scottish Government National Island Plan fund, added: “We are very grateful to the Councillors of Highland Council Wards 5, 10, and 11 who recognised the relevance of this collection to Highland communities and enabled us to bring a taster of the Angus Og Cartoon Collection to local venues across the West Coast of Scotland.

“We look forward to being part of the conversation around local issues and the Highland and Island’s shared futures.”

Steve Walsh, High Life Highland’s Chief Executive, concluded: “It’s such an honour for High Life Highland to host the original collection of Angus Og comics at the Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre.

“High Life Highland is especially pleased to be able to showcase this collection to local communities across the Highland Council area in order to bring people together and facilitate pertinent discussions on the subject matter of the Angus Og comics.”

The ‘Angus Og: Out of the Archives Tour’ will visit:

Venue Date Time
Mallaig Library 04.10.23 14:00 – 16:00
Achnasheen Hall 12.10.23 12:15 – 13:45
Gairloch Hall 13.10.23 18:30 – 20:00
Caol Library 18.10.23 15:00 – 17:00
Eigg Hall 19.10.23 14:00 – 19:00
Kilmuir Hall 23.10.23 18:00 – 20:00
Raasay Hall 06.11.23 14:00 – 16:00
Kyleakin Hall 09.11.23 14:00 – 16:00
Portree Community Library 18.11.23 11:00 – 15:00

High Life Highland’s Highland Archive Service are currently working to digitise and conserve the collection of Angus Og cartoons after receiving funding from the Scottish Government.

The funding is part of the National Island Plan which was awarded to all Scottish local authority areas with island populations and seeks to support the development of cultural and historic resources; encouraging Island residents to engage with, and participate in, arts and culture.

The funding will be used to support, develop, and promote the creative talents of Islanders, and ensure that the culture of Scotland’s islands has a wide audience both nationally and abroad.