Visual Artist


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Graduate's work explores life of grandfather she never knew - friday 11th may 2018 by paul malik (the courier) photo: kenny smith

Kiera Marshall’s art, she says, has regularly intertwined with her Dundee family’s military history.

Her great-grandfather, a paratrooper, was killed in action during the Second World War, while her father served in the Gordon Highlanders and, latterly, The Black Watch, surviving tours of Afghanistan and Iraq.

She spent her formative years living on bases in Germany and Northern Ireland, becoming acutely aware of the short yet colourful life of her grandfather Jack, who was killed by a sniper’s bullet in Belfast more than four decades ago.

Now, graduating with honours in art and philosophy from Dundee University’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, she will showcase her family’s history and the affect it has had locally by combining newspaper clippings from archived copies of The Courier and military clothing and banners.

“I have always been inspired by my family’s military background,” she said.

“When I was researching, I was looking for more than just stories of what happened to my grandfather when he was killed, I wanted to know the sort of man he was from those who knew him.”

Kiera struck up conversations, using social media and the internet, to connect with Lance Corporal Marshall’s colleagues who toured with him in Belfast and elsewhere before he was killed.

“Part of my work has been inspired by old military banners. I used one phrase, ‘Killed in Ireland’ on one, which is inscribed on his tombstone.

“On another, using the same style, I used ‘He was a good dancer’, which is how one of his friends described him.”

Kiera worked with her father, himself a master tailor, who helped source material to make sure the uniforms were as accurate as possible.

Using articles detailing her grandfather’s time in Belfast – clippings which notified the people of Dundee of his death, as well as those updating the community about her father’s decision to serve his country – she has modified the jackets, creating something unique for public display.

Kiera said her work is not meant to serve as any political statement, but a reflection on the effect conflict can have on individuals and communities almost half a century after they have happened.

She said: “There were more than 3,000 deaths during the troubles, on all sides.

“I do not intend for this project to be a political statement, it is a reflection on history using the conflict as context, but not the subject.”

Kiera’s work will go on display to the public on May 18, during the annual art school degree show on Perth Road.

Entry to the show is free and the exhibits will be on show until Sunday May 27.

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Degree Show coverage interview - aired 17th May 2018 by Louise Cowie (STV News Dundee)

"Works by more than 300 students are being showcased in the Duncan of Jordanstone college of art, design and architechture degree show. Kiera Marshall is commemorating her Grandfather, a Dundee soldier killed in Northern Ireland during the troubles."

I hope to be able to engage with people in the local area and get people talking and it might trigger memories from people who might of known him - friends and colleagues.

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He was a British soldier killed by the IRA at the height of Northern Ireland’s Troubles, but 41 years after Jack Marshall’s death, his life is to be honoured by his artist granddaughter at one of Scotland’s biggest cultural events.

Kiera Marshall will exhibit two specially made military uniforms chronicling the life and death of the grandfather she never knew at this year’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design and Architecture Degree Show, which opens next week.

The 23-year-old will display two mannequins wearing outfits created with the help of her father, the son of Lance Corporal Marshall, who was shot by a sniper on the streets of Belfast.

Kiera, from Dundee, has used archive newspaper cuttings, maps, and family memorabilia to bring her grandfather’s story to life, and says that the exhibit has been a real labour of love.

“Obviously I never got the chance to meet my grandfather, but through this I feel as though I now know him a bit better,” she said.

“When a soldier dies you don’t hear much about the sort of person they were. It can just seem like another number, so it’s been interesting to hear about the man behind the uniform.

“I don’t want it to be a political statement. His job was a big part of his life but it would be nice if people could learn more about him through this work.”

A member of the Gordon Highlanders regiment, Lance Corporal Marshall had been on patrol in the Ardoyne area of Belfast when he was shot by an IRA sniper and killed on August 28 1977.

Aged just 25, he left behind a wife and two children.

For what was already a deeply personal project, Kiera was assisted by her father John, Jack’s son, who also joined the forces before leaving the Black Watch as a master tailor.

“I was a military child and lived in Northern Ireland myself,” she added.

“I’ve been to the place where my grandfather was killed but this project really helped me to build a connection with him. I contacted some of his former colleagues via social media who got back to me with pictures of him, as well as some stories.

“It also meant a lot to have my dad assist me in sourcing some of the material for the uniforms. Even though it is my work, I know it meant a lot to him to be involved in just a small way.”

The Degree Show is one of the highlights of Dundee’s cultural calendar, with more than 15,000 visitors expected to attend throughout its 10-day run.

This year’s event begins with the traditional Preview Evening on Friday 18 May, before opening to the public the following day, running until Sunday 27 May.



Art and philosophy degree show review - 22nd may 2018 by fiona verran (dundee university review of the arts)

"Kiera Marshall weaves an intimate relationship with her late Grandfather using archival source materials. She creates intricate uniforms which reference the life of her Grandfather and the conflict in Northern Ireland in the 70s, offering both a historical and personal perspective. Her space is a refreshingly soulful moment within the degree show, and her uniforms show an ability to bind politics and textiles exquisitely."

Galleries: a student show with a difference - 26th may 2018 (herald scotland)

Critics Choice

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design is the first of the art colleges to open its doors to the public for the annual degree show, a much-anticipated collection of over 300 students graduating in a variety of disciplines..Art and Philosophy graduate, Kiera Marshall, who displays two uniforms made with the help of her father, a master tailor, remembering the life of her grandfather Jack, a Gordon Highlander shot by an IRA sniper in Belfast during the Troubles.


ART REView: duncan of jordanstone degree show 2018 - 28th may 2018 by susan mansfield (the scotsman)

"Some of the most compelling work is that with a personal story.. Kiera Marshall’s work is an investigation into the life of the grandfather she never met, a soldier killed in Northern Ireland in 1977."