2013 Papapetrou THE GHILLIES catalogue
Ghillie is derived from the Scottish Gaelic word gille meaning lad or servant. Historically it was a term used to refer to a man or a boy who, as a minion, attended a Highland chief on hunting or fishing expeditions. Scottish gamekeepers may have developed the ghillie suit as a form of hunting camouflage and A History of the Military Sniper claims that its martial use can be traced to the Lovat Scouts, a Scottish Highland regiment that became the British Army’s first sniper unit in 1916. As if that isn’t enough, the Australian Army snipers call their camouflage outfits Yowie suits, referring to Australia’s version of the Yeti or our, Giants From the Dreamtime. So much in a single word! Not content to just offer us these vividly powerful images, even in the title of this exhibition, Polixeni Papapetrou immediately makes us think about land and servitude, masculinity and nature, colonialism and combat.