Nine intricately carved stones are to feature in an Aberdeenshire village.
‘The Kemnay Steens’ will soon be placed along footpaths in and around Kemnay with the aim of encouraging people to explore the rich history, folklore and natural identity of the surrounding landscape.
The designs for the artworks are the result of six months of research and engagement activity by Glasgow-based artist James Winnett.
He consulted with community groups, attended events, held talks and lead stone carving workshops with the Scouts, Guides and pupils at Kemnay Academy.
He said: “The warmth and enthusiasm people have shown me has been great and it’s been clear just how much the local landscape and the stories attached to it are valued.
“The stones, which vary in weight from half a tonne to two tonnes, carry a range of stories, from the giant Jock o’ Bennachie hurling giant boulders at his neighbours to the importance of the harvest and the ‘Clyack Sheaf’.
“Other stones reference the winding river Don, the Bishop’s Palace at Fetternear and the impact of John Fyfe’s Quarry at Paradise Hill.”
He added: “I’ve developed the designs to reference local Pictish carvings and later medieval styles but the stones also have their own visual vocabulary.
“The more of them you encounter the more you notice reoccurring symbols, characters and themes.
Each stone tells its own story but there is also a deeper narrative hidden in the carvings, waiting to be unpicked.”
The project began in July last year and is being led by The Kemnay Public Art Group a sub-group of Greener Kemnay.
The group was asked by Aberdeenshire Council to manage a public art project using the balance remaining in the Percent for Art Fund, accumulated from previous housing developments.
Additional funding was then secured from The National Lottery Community Fund.
A representative from Greener Kemnay said: “Our village has many keen walkers and several walking groups and the far distant history of the village is not seen except in the landscape, the more recent industrial age can be appreciated through looking into the quarrying of Kemnay granite.
“The group wanted to encourage a sense of belonging in the landscape not only for locals but for visitors to the area as more people are exploring Scotland.
“We are very excited to see how the ‘Steens’ are developing and we are
delighted with the way James has brought this project to life.”
For more information and updates on the project, go to www.facebook.com/kemnaypublicartproject/