The public are being asked to give their views on a new art installation being created for an Aberdeen community.
The Tillydrone Gateway Project has selected four potential sculptures and are now asking locals to pick their favourite.
From swans on stilts and giant Kingfishers to oversize spinning tops and abstract trees, each of the four ideas are uniquely eye-catching.
“We asked the artists to come up with something which they thought represented the culture, heritage and the people of Tillydrone,” said Sean McVeigh who is part of the Tillydrone Gateway Project.
As local residents themselves, it was important for Sean and the rest of the team that the chosen sculpture really reflected the area.
Pre-lockdown the project held community engagement sessions to bring the artists together with local residents and schools for this reason.
In the end, the chosen Scottish artists – Svetlana Kondakova (Edinburgh), David Annand (Fife), Joe Ingleby (Glasgow) and SMART creative team (Aberdeen) – were all selected because their ideas were most in tune with the Tillydrone community spirit.
The project, which is primarily funded by charity and art grants the Tillydrone Gateway Project have managed to secure, was due to set up a public consultation to let the community have their say on which design they liked best.
Coronavirus restrictions meant this stage of the plan had to be cancelled.
But rather than forge ahead without any community feedback, Sean and the team have come up with a new way to show off the plans.
“We asked each of the artists to create a video presentation lasting between two and four minutes to explain their idea and the thought behind it,” said Mr McVeigh.
“Then we’ve put each of these into a survey online where people can share what they think.
“Obviously this is not the sort of face-to-face consultation we had in mind originally, but we’ve had some good responses so far.”
Now the team are keen to share the survey far and wide across the city.
“This is not just aimed at people who live in Tillydrone,” Mr McVeigh said.
“We want to hear the views of people across Aberdeen and ask what sculpture might encourage them to visit the area.”
It’s taken two years to get to this point, but the public consultation is a vastly important next step.
Although it will not definitively decide which sculpture is chosen, the results will have a big sway in the final choice.
“We’ve got three expert judges who will be joining the team to help us make the final decision,” said Mr McVeigh.
“Local Tillydrone councillor Ross Grant, who is also the co-ordinator of Nuart in Aberdeen, Jim Buckley from Grey’s School of Art and Shane Strachan from Art UK, a local creator who recently had his work displayed in the Aberdeen Art Gallery.
“So they will be the experts in the art side of things, the team will be the experts in the Tillydrone side of things, and the public will hopefully tell us exactly what they like and don’t like.”
The new installation will be situated near Diamond Bridge, and it is hoped it will become as well recognised as the leopard sculpture based at Marischal Square.
“Y’know, like the Kelpies but for people within Aberdeen,” Mr McVeigh added that it would be “A focal point that people will want to visit and see.”
“If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that our local areas are so important. And there are gems to be found no matter where you live.
“That is what we are trying to do here –get people to explore Tillydrone. It’s got a fantastic community with loads of great things going on.”
Councillor for Tillydrone Jim Noble has cast his keen eye over the designs and has already got his favourites: “They are all very impressive,” he said, “but it was the swans and the Kingfisher which really caught my attention.
“I think it’s good that people are doing things like this for the local area and any of the sculptures would be a real asset to Tillydrone.
“About 15 years ago I was involved with the totem pole sculpture in Seaton and it really did prove to be a winner for people in the area.
“It was a focal point for people to meet and helped put an identity on the area, which I think this could do for Tillydrone.
“Whichever one is chosen will be a great talking point for the whole area.”
The survey can be accessed from the Tillydrone Gateway Project’s Facebook page and will be running until the end of the month.