It’s Up-Helly-Art! Bill heads to go on display at museum

Northmavine Guizer Jarl Mark Kearney’s bill head of 2012.

The latest exhibition at Da Gadderie in Shetland Museum features “bill heads” from all the Up-Helly-A’s across Shetland.

The bill head sits above The Bill or Proclamation, which is displayed in a public place on Up-Helly-A’ day.

The Bill started in 1899 and at first, was to provide guizers with instructions for the event. It developed to contain local jokes and satire, topped with a piece of art that often depicts the Guizer Jarl’s saga.

The artist is chosen by the jarl who may be a family friend, relative or someone from their area. The bill head is officially unveiled to the jarl and his squad a few days before the event and presented to the jarl on hop day (the day after Up-Helly-A’) by the “torch boys”.

The exhibition contains work by well-known artists Nicholas Barnham, Liam O’Neil and Ron Sandford, along with work by lesser-known artists from the community. For some, Up-Helly-A’ might provide the first opportunity for a public exhibition of their work.

The exhibition opens on Saturday at noon and runs until Sunday 11th February.

A Uyeasound Up-Helly-A’ bill head painted by Nicolas Barnham.
The bill head used by South Mainland Up-Helly-A’ Guizer Jarl Lesley Simpson.


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