High Life Highland’s Highland Archive Service is set to digitise and conserve a collection of Angus Og cartoons after receiving funding from the Scottish Government.
Angus Og was created by cartoonist Ewen Bain and his adventures were based on the fabled Isle of Drambeg in the Utter Hebrides.
Highland Archivist Alison Mason said:
“We’re delighted to have been awarded £40,000 funding from the Scottish Government to fund a post which will be based at our Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre in Portree to research, digitise, conserve and promote this fantastic collection of Angus Og cartoons – over 4000 individual items – all of which were gifted to the archives by Ewen’s daughter in 2019.”
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.
The funding is part of the National Island Plan which is being 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.
Ewen Bain was born in Maryhill, Glasgow, in 1925 and was the youngest of the three children of John and Flora Bain from the Isle of Skye.
His father from Waternish and his mother from Staffin moved to Glasgow in 1912 and the family would spend every summer in Staffin.
Gaelic was spoken as the family’s first language with elements of Gaelic and Scots featuring throughout his work.
Ewen’s daughter Rhona Flin who gifted the collection, said:
“My father would have been delighted to know of this special investment in Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre which will enable much wider access to the Angus Og collection.”
Catherine MacPhee, Skye and Lochalsh Archvist said:
“The survival of this collection is important not just for Skye but as part of Scotland’s social history.
“As well as being nationally well known and loved, the cartoons relate to social-political issues still relevant today, including the loss of language, impacts of tourism and social imbalances.”
The funding will allow High Life Highland to develop an accessible Angus Og collection exhibition which will showcase at the Archive Centre in Skye, and thereafter tour with workshops, readings, and discussions.
The strip will also be made available online through the Am Baile website and there are plans for the collection to tour venues across the Highlands and Scotland.