Bonfire | Papay Gyro Nights Arts Festival | Papa Westray, Orkney

An diugh La Bride, Thig an righinn as an tom, Cha bhean mise ris an righinn, Cha bhean an righinn rium.  

This is the day of Bride, The queen will come from the mound, I will not touch the queen, Nor will the queen touch me.

This proposal links mythology and fact with the notion of rebirth and renewal. Whether or not the hag, or gygr, indeed emerged from the mound, we do know that several mounds dotted around the Northern European seaboard marked the position of Norse-Viking ship cremations. We are also familiar with archetypal theatrical images such as the concluding scenes of Richard Fleischer’s “The Vikings” (1958), and elsewhere.

Located on Papay’s Old Pier, The Gygr would be the climax to the traditional torchlight procession on “Night of the Gyros”. Formally it is a folded sail whose plan is derived from linking the mapped locations of key ship burials; sail height at nodes is representative of boat size; and elevation above datum varies with internment date, so creating a spiral or gyratory figure. Competition 2012, placed in  group Selected by Competition Organisers.