Elektra – Jersey’s Dazzle Ship

The Elektra Dazzle Ship was funded by our Great War Art and Community Fund as part of the Island’s official 2015 commemorations of the centenary of the First World War. Initiated and led by artist Ian Rolls, the former US army tug boat Elektra was painted over a period of two months with the help of fellow Skipton Art Series artists.

The States World War One Centenary Working Group granted the Fund to the Jersey Arts Trust as part of the Island’s official commemorations of the centenary of the First World War. Jersey Arts trust will receive and distribute £10,000 a year, for the next three years, to fund arts and community projects that reflect on or commemorate the First World War.

The majority of the funding will be distributed as open-access grants to Artists and community groups for a range of projects that reflect on the historical events and/or consider the impact of war then and today. Artists or community groups who have a project that would benefit from the funding should initially contact Sarah Colter by e-mail (sarah@arts.je) who can send them the full terms and conditions.

Tom Dingle, Director of Jersey Arts Trust, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support Ian realise this visionary project. Art is a great way to reflect and explore a subject matter in more depth than we might otherwise do in our daily lives. We hope that beyond it being visually interesting in itself, the dazzle ship will become a physical reminder of the extents that our naval forces went to protect our interests and a symbol of the collective bravery, sacrifice and dare I say ingenuity, of all of our troops past and present.

We would encourage others who may have their own ideas about how to reflect and commemorate the Great War either through art or community activities to come forward and discuss them with us.”

The design is an original scheme devised specifically for the ‘Elektra’ by Ian Rolls, who is well established as one of Jersey’s most experienced and versatile artists.

Ian’s concept is based on distorting form, a consistent theme in his work, so that the tugboat appears crumpled with strong linear elements, reinforcing the play of light and dark to create false planes. A single red line descends in a twisting spiral from the funnel, wraps itself around the vessel and dips below the waterline to merge with the solid red of the lower hull. The symbolism of sinking ships, but conversely the rising out of the red field of war to a higher place, is implicit. The design is an uplifting mark of remembrance for all those lost beneath the waves during the Great War.

A group of Skipton Arts Series artists assisted Ian in painting Elektra’s design. The work was undertaken by a changing team of artists led by professional painter Matt Daly, who has undertaken a number of large-scale public murals. The team of artists include: Val Aitken, Kerry-Jane Warner, Ged Thebault, Carl Danby, Pippa Barrow, Lizzy Hill, Jools Holt, Gina Socrates, Maria Tarrant and Clare Ormsby.

For more information about the Great War Art and Community Fund please click this link.