Partner press release: Public artworks celebrating Inverclyde’s past, present and future unveiled at Greenock Waterfront

Public artworks celebrating Inverclyde’s past, present and future unveiled at Greenock Waterfront.

  • Supported by Sustrans Scotland, National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Great Place Inverclyde Scheme and Inverclyde Council, three exciting new public artworks have been unveiled along Greenock Waterfront.

 

  • Greenock-based charity RIG Arts and artist Tragic O’Hara were commissioned to deliver a series of artworks along the waterfront.

 

  • Building on initial community engagement work in 2020, the partnership project worked with local community groups to shape the artworks along National Cycle Network Route 75.

 

  • Looking to the past, Jason Orr’s ‘Yardmen’ celebrates the history of shipbuilding in Greenock in miniature form.

 

  • Representing the present day, Alan Potter has created ‘Ebb & Flow’ – a seating installation based on the forms of kelp and sealife, featuring a statue of a famous local seal.

 

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

 

Walking and cycling charity Sustrans and Inverclyde Council have unveiled a series of three, exciting new public art installations along a well-used walking, wheeling and cycling route at Greenock Waterfront. 

Creative Conversations II, which was backed by funding from Transport Scotland and the National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Great Place Inverclyde Scheme, has seen local artists represent the past, present and future for Inverclyde through three installations along National Cycle Network Route 75. 

Greenock waterfront public artworks. John Lauder, from Sustrans, artist Alan Potter and Councillor Jim Clocherty.
Greenock waterfront public artworks. John Lauder, from Sustrans, artist Alan Potter and Councillor Jim Clocherty. Photo: Derek Mitchell.

Building on community consultations held during 2020, local charity RIG Arts and artist Tragic O’Hara were commissioned to engage with the Greenock community to deliver a series of new, permanent artworks for the waterfront area.

O’Hara and RIG Arts partnered with local groups and individuals in the area to shape and deliver the final designs, creating eye-catching artworks which it is hoped will encourage more people to walk, wheel and cycle along the already well-loved route.

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

The 12-inch tall figures represent the lives and work of the ordinary people who built the Clyde coast, and celebrate the skills of all of the workers who committed blood, sweat and tears to the shipbuilding industry.

Representing the present day, Alan Potter has created ‘Ebb & Flow’ – a seating installation based on the forms of kelp and sealife, and featuring a statue of a famous local seal at its centre.

The spiral seating, made from oak with embedded porcelain and pebble mosaics, depicts typical Clyde riverlife including mackerel, salmon, wrasse, flounder and crab.

Greenock waterfront public artwork. Mechanical Animals. Photo: Derek Mitchell
Greenock waterfront public artwork. Mechanical Animals. Photo: Derek Mitchell

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

Three ‘mechanical’ jellyfish sculptures, constructed from steel and perspex and placed on top of recycled telephone poles, represent a future where we are forced to invent robotic versions of animal species which no longer exist.

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

“Traffic-free walking, wheeling and cycling connections along the National Cycle Network allow people to make happier, healthier and more sustainable journeys.

“Working alongside our communities, we want to make these routes 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 area, reflecting Greenock’s rich history and heritage. 

Greenock waterfront public artwork. The Yardmen scuplture. Photo: Derek Mitchell
Greenock waterfront public artwork. The Yardmen scuplture. Photo: Derek Mitchell

“All three artworks have created exciting new points of interest along this well-used connection on National Cycle Network Route 75.

“And we hope they inspire many more people across Inverclyde to explore the area in a sustainable and active way.”  

Councillor Jim Clocherty, depute leader of Inverclyde Council and convener of education and communities, said: “This has been a real team effort from everyone involved to deliver vibrant and thought-provoking artworks- adding extra dimensions to the already picturesque Greenock waterfront that 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 are currently in, while encouraging people to do one of the many things that can help reduce harmful greenhouse gases; engage with active travel.

“The artworks are 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 colour to this beautiful section of the National Cycle Network will only encourage more people to Discover Inverclyde.”

Karen Orr, Chief Executive of RIG Arts said: “RIG Arts collaboration with artist Tragic O'Hara on Creative Conversations was a great opportunity to work with local people to really find out what they thought about public art, and what it could and should be.

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

“We hope that the works 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 permanent artworks can be visited along National Cycle Network Route 75 at Greenock Waterfront.