East Lothian Council

Artists commissioned for The Musselburgh Public Art Project

Published Monday 1st February 16

Memory and Reflection scale model

East Lothian Council has commissioned artists to create new public art pieces for the town.

This initiative is funded by Tesco Ltd as part of East Lothian Council’s Percent for Art Policy and has awarded £38,000 for each of the two commissions. 

Michael Johnson will create “Memory and Reflection” a stainless steel sculpture in the shape of a mussel shell. Michael explains that:

“... the shell of the sculpture will depict aspects of Musselburgh’s history... images of agriculture, people, connections to the sea, the river, the Romans... The face of the sculpture will be mirror polished and will reflect whatever stands before it... These two aspects of the shell, the Memory and the Reflection, I see as strong metaphors for a work which interprets the history of the town and also offers a reflection of how we view the town now.”

Svetlana Kondakova and Maja Quille are working on “The Archer”, a life-size bronze cast of an archer and 12 steel arrows.  

“Inspired by local history, the archer and arrows will represent three important aspects of Musselburgh heritage - the Roman invasion in AD 80, the battle of Pinky Cleugh in 1547 and the Musselburgh Silver Arrow, which dates back to 1603 and is claimed to be the oldest sporting trophy in the world. The bronze figure will have a universal and timeless aesthetic ... (and) the 12 arrows will form a trail (to)... lead people to places which are important to the town in terms of history, culture and community, allowing participants to experience Musselburgh in a new way, highlighting its assets and reasserting the town’s identity.”

Following a period of consultation about public artworks in Musselburgh called “ The Dabbling Project “ which was undertaken by Ice Cream Architecture, the Council’s Arts Service brought together a working group to select the artists and oversee the project. The group includes representatives from the Musselburgh Area Partnership, Community Council, Musselburgh Conservation Group, local people from the community, Council Officers and elected members. 

Cllr Tim Day, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing said:

“I have no doubt that these artists will provide works of outstanding beauty to fully complement the town and its cultural heritage. They will serve to celebrate Musselburgh and act as permanent works of art for all residents and visitors to Musselburgh to enjoy for many years to come!”

The location of the artworks will be agreed through consultation and an assessment of the suitability of sites, with an unveiling in the autumn of 2016. There will be an official launch of the project towards the end of February 2016 with an opportunity to meet the artists and find out more about their artworks. The artists will also be undertaking participatory workshops with the community to assist with the design development.

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