Haud Oan

A Scottish artist's response to the UK's decision to leave the EU.

Jane Hunter - Scottish Independence Art - Brexit - Haud Oan - Textile art

On Friday 24th June 2016 it was announced that the UK had voted to leave the EU, by 52% to 48%.

However, every council area in Scotland saw Remain majorities, with an overall 62% to 38% voting to remain in the EU.


Nicola Sturgeon -


“Yesterday, Scotland - like London and Northern Ireland - voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU.

We voted to protect our place in the world's biggest single market - and the jobs and investment that depend on it.

We voted to safeguard our freedom to travel, live, work and study in other European countries.

And we voted to renew our reputation as an outward looking, open and inclusive country.”


“But the vote across England and Wales was a rejection of the EU.

And it was a sign of divergence between Scotland and large parts of the rest of the UK in how we see our place in the world.”


On Friday I arrived at my studio as normal, if not a bit tired and shellshocked, to carry on with some commissions I needed to finish by the weekend.

However, concentrating was not very easy. I couldn’t help but listen to the radio news and read the vast amount of reports about the monumental events unfolding in our country.

Over the course of the previous night and following morning, we were continually shown maps of the UK, with each section coloured according to majority vote. Maps of this kind have become something of a symbol to us, from the Independence Referendum, General Election and Scottish Elections they are often used to show the stark differences in opinion.

Given my obsession with maps of all kinds, I’ve often thought about the significance of this way of communicating information. Across social media I even see people using these images as their profile pictures, as a way of communicating their own views and feelings.

Therefore, instead of fighting with my brain to do the work I had intended on Friday, I made a different map.

Entitled ‘Haud Oan’ (Scots for ‘Hold On’) I used the, by now hugely familiar, blue and yellow coloured map of the UK as a starting point.

Hand cut from Harris Tweed each area of the country is represented by yellow - remain or blue - leave, depending what the majority vote was.

Throughout the process my partner Sam and I discussed and debated the unfolding events, relating back to the map I was constructing. When it came to stitching the pieces of cloth together, the threads became symbolic. There are 32 yellow threads joining and reaching from Scotland, south east in the direction of mainland Europe. The threads that would previously have reached in the same direction from England, have been cut and hang loose.

In the end I feel that going through the process of putting this piece together was therapeutic, it helped me organise my thoughts and feelings and opened up various debates which we worked through over the course of the day.

Before I left the studio to go home, I took some photographs of the piece and uploaded them to my social media pages along with the words:

Feelings Today:

Haud oan... whit?
Haud oan... this could get bumpy! 

Haud oan...

Just, haud oan.

The title is open to your own interpretation, from initial shock and surprise, fear and unsettled feelings, to a rally cry or call for patience.

Haud Oan by Jane Hunter - Brexit Art Statement 2016

Haud Oan by Scottish Textile Artist Jane Hunter