The Flare Boom

© the artist. Image credit: Scottish Maritime Museum

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This elemental painting featuring fire, water, air and steel is the result of Downie’s one-week residency placement in June 1988 on the North Alwyn oil platform, owned by Total Oil Marine plc. It was only a matter of weeks after this residency that the horror of the Piper Alpha disaster took place in one of the major North Sea oil fields. This work is based on the flaring of waste gas from the drilling platform. ‘It was both shocking and exhilarating to witness such gases from below the sea being burnt off, and was challenging for me to create a painting that truly echoed this experience.’ – Kate Downie

Scottish Maritime Museum



The Flare Boom




acrylic & oil on canvas


H 148 x W 190 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund, 2016

Work type



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Scottish Maritime Museum

Laird Forge Buildings, Gottries Road, Irvine, North Ayrshire KA12 8QE Scotland

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