Paintings as Arguments

Five Decades of Cultural and Political Change in Scotland
Alexander Moffat & Alan Riach, 2014
Paintings as Arguments: Five Decades of Cultural and Political Change in Scotland
Publisher: Peacock Visual Arts
Dimensions: 21 x 15 cm
Pages: 142
ISBN: 978-0-9562260-2-0
£ 12.00

This book was published to accompany the exhibition Paintings as Arguments: Five Decades of Cultural & Polictical Change in Scotland by Alexander Moffat at Peacock Visual Arts, 16 August - 20 September, 2014.




Centred on the work of Alexander Moffat the exhibition opened enquiries into important changes and achievements in cultural expression and education, artistic means of production and dissemination in Scotland and their international contexts. The period from 1960 onwards saw major cultural change in Scotland and throughout the world. Moffat was directly involved as an artist-activist, a curator and a teacher. He opposed current establishment conventions, curated and exhibited work by young Scottish artists and taught new generations with a major and continuing influence. His main aim as an artist, curator and writer has been to place Scotland and Scottish art in a relationship with the rest of the world.


As the country prepared to answer the question of whether it wants self-government or not, we ask what contribution have the visual arts made in taking us to the point where a referendum on independence is even thinkable, no matter the outcome. What has been the role of the “success story” of Scottish art in increasing self-awareness of Scotland’s cultural distinctiveness? Have our artists helped to build confidence amongst the people of Scotland and banish the old inferiority complex, the “cringe”? What are the cultural arguments for, or against, independence?