Joyce W Cairns (b 1947) is one of the UK’s most significant artists. Based for many years in the village of Footdee, beside Aberdeen harbour, and now based by the River Tay in Dundee, Cairns’ distinctive and humane work feels more relevant than ever in a “post-truth” world.


Her paintings, drawings and prints are full of psychological intensity and emotional charge, tackling subjects of humanity, war and collective memory. She is a masterful draughtswoman, creating dreamlike, figurative compositions that reflect the complexity of human experience. One of her themes is our complicity in current world events and the need for personal reconciliation with the past. Cairns’ extraordinary body of work, including her War Tourist series, cemented her reputation as one of the finest artists of her generation. Inspired by German Art of the Weimar period including Max Beckmann, George Grosz and Otto Dix, Cairns’ uncompromising vision is all her own.