NEW Greenock Waterfront artwork installed

Alan Potter © Derek Mitchell

WALKING and cycling charity Sustrans and Inverclyde Council have unveiled new public art at Greenock Waterfront.

The Creative Conversations II project involved local artists representing Inverclyde’s past, present and future through three installations along Route 75 of the National Cycle Network.

Local charity RIG Arts and artist Tragic O’Hara have been commissioned to engage with the Greenock community to deliver a series of permanent artworks for the waterfront.

They partnered with local groups and individuals in the area to shape and deliver the final designs, creating eye-catching works of art that it is hoped will encourage more people to walk, ride and cycle. along the already popular route.

Looking to the past, Jason Orr’s ‘Yardmen’ celebrates Inverclyde’s rich shipbuilding heritage in miniature form.

© Derek Mitchell

The 12-inch-tall figures represent the life and labor of the ordinary people who built the Clyde Coast and celebrate the skills of workers who poured blood, sweat and tears into the shipbuilding industry.

©Derek Mitchell

Representing the present, Alan Potter created “Ebb & Flow” – seats based on the shapes of kelp and sea life, with a seal statue at its center.

The spiral seats, in oak with inlaid porcelain and pebble mosaics, depict typical River Clyde life, including mackerel, salmon, wrasse, flounder and crab.

©Derek Mitchell

Tragic O’Hara’s ‘Mechanical Animals’ is a stark warning for the future, depicting what could happen if climate and biodiversity emergencies continue unchecked.

Three “mechanical” jellyfish sculptures, constructed of steel and plexiglass and placed above recycled telephone poles, depict a future in which robotic versions of animal species that no longer exist must be invented.

On the left, Tragic O’Hara and John Lauder of Sustrams | Above, John Lauder of_Sustrans, artist Alan Potter and Councilor Jim Clocherty © Derek Mitchell

Cosmo Blake, Head of Network Engagement at Sustrans Scotland, said: “As we face the global climate emergency, it is crucial that we work together to make walking, cycling and cycling the choices. the most attractive for more of our travels.

“Traffic-free pedestrian, rolling and cycling connections along the National Cycle Network allow people to have happier, healthier and more sustainable journeys.

“Alongside our communities, we want to make these courses more welcoming, inclusive and interesting spaces for everyone.

“By partnering with Inverclyde Council, RIG Arts, Tragic O’Hara and local groups on this exciting project, we wanted to empower the community to put their own stamp on the waterfront, reflecting the rich history and heritage of Greenock.

“The three works of art have created exciting new points of interest along this heavily used connection on Route 75 of the National Cycling Network.

“And we hope they will inspire many more people across Inverclyde to explore the region sustainably and actively.”

Councilor Jim Clocherty, Deputy Leader of Inverclyde Council and Head of Education and Communities, said: ‘It’s been a real team effort from everyone involved to deliver artwork vibrant and stimulating, adding extra dimensions to the already picturesque Greenock waterfront which we hope people near and far will visit.

“Fresh from the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, elements of the artwork are very timely in raising awareness of the environmental emergency we currently find ourselves in, whilst encouraging people to do one of the many things that can help reduce harmful greenhouse gases; engage in active travel.

“The artwork is also a nod to our rich shipbuilding history.

“Celebrating one of our greatest assets, the river, right on the banks of the Clyde itself and adding a splash of color to this beautiful section of the National Cycle Network will only encourage more people to experience Inverclyde. “

Karen Orr, Managing Director of RIG Arts, said, “RIG Arts’ collaboration with artist Tragic O’Hara on Creative Conversations was a great opportunity to work with locals to really find out what they thought of the public art, and what it could and should be. .

“Working within the confines of the Covid-19 pandemic was a difficult but interesting process, and the three co-created artworks reflect the current times and are very grounded and inspired by the place.

“We hope the work will stimulate conversations and encourage visitors to the area. They are so diverse that there should be something for everyone to enjoy and interact with.

The initiative was supported by funding from Transport Scotland and the National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Great Place Inverclyde Scheme.

Christopher S. Washington