Striking new sculpture symbolizes eternal hope for the people of Lanarkshire
A striking new sculpture towering over the South Lanarkshire skyline aims to reflect the scale of the climate emergency and serve as a poignant and enduring reminder of the need to take care of each other and our planet.
Unveiled at the COP26 summit, the 23m high Sculpture of hope now controls the Cuningar Loop woodland park, part of Clyde Gateway, Scotland’s largest and most ambitious regeneration program.
The striking sculpture features a child neutral in terms of age, gender and race, embracing the surrounding nature and striving for a greener and more hopeful future.
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The child’s silhouette towers over elegant 20m tall columns that take their shape from the brick chimney stems that once littered Glasgow’s East End.
Unlike its predecessors, this deconstructed chimney rod is made from an innovative low carbon, 100% cement-free concrete, incorporating locally sourced aggregates and recycled crushed glass into the child’s structure.
Achieving a 75% reduction in carbon emissions, the Sculpture of Hope in the Rutherglen Green Space joins two other new public art installations by artist and designer Steuart Padwick, located in and around the host city of the COP26.
The 4.5m high Glimmer of hope , made from profiled layers of Scotland-grown Sitka Spruce, celebrates the expansion of the timber construction industry in Scotland and is aimed at anyone passing through Glasgow Central Station, a architectural significance.
Padwick’s third sculpture, the Hope Triptych , is a playful adaptation of 3.5 m high of the Child of hope, and is composed of three colored figures, symbolizing the power to come together.
Located in the Rottenrow Gardens of the University of Strathclyde, the triptych is made from reclaimed sheet steel with a low carbon cementless concrete foundation.
The sculpture of hope began as a conversation with Ramboll [lead consultant] and became a gift from 50 companies in Glasgow, ”said Steuart Lanarkshire Live.
“It is a testament to the power of collaboration and dedication to provide a better future. We all need to tackle this new global agenda so that our young people can embrace a hopeful future.
“It’s very simple: why would anyone want to poison their future?
Associating the built environment with improving mental well-being, Steuart worked with the Mental Health Foundation on all of the messages conveyed by the sculptures.
Words of Hope have been written by some of Scotland’s favorite voices, writers and poets including Jackie Kay, Andrew O’Hagan, Ali Smith and Douglas Stuart, winner of the Booker Prize 2020, as well as local school children , including elementary students from St Columbkille Fraser. Kirkwood, nine, and Luca Miller, 11.
These messages were inscribed directly on all of the sculptures, including the Caithness Stones at Cuningar Loop.
Near each artwork is mental health signage, highlighting a range of essential support services.
During the Sculpture of Hope planning process, Steuart and Project Director Natalie Alexopoulos reached out to Rutherglen resident Geraldine Baird MBE to solicit input from the community.
Geraldine brought in community members Liz Bell and Christine McPhail to form a support group. She has also hosted presentations with the Rutherglen Library, Councilors, School Directors, the Local Heritage Society, Historians and the New Deacon of St Columbkille Church.
Geraldine tell us : “We feel privileged to have this significant work of art in our region, from which the people of Rutherglen and beyond will benefit immensely.
“The sculpture of hope will not only be a place of reflection, but will become a meeting point and, who knows, perhaps a place where we can organize musical and literary events.
“It has been a wonderful experience working with Steuart and Natalie – two creative and caring people, so inclusive and so inspiring. We have forged a friendship that I hope will last.
Director Natalie paid tribute to the companies and individuals with whom she collaborated during the project.
She added, “Their integrity, drive and commitment to making a difference has been inspiring. “
Councilor John Ross, Head of South Lanarkshire Council, said: “The Hope Sculpture is a magnificent addition to the landscape of South Lanarkshire.
“This will serve as a very visible reminder of the care we all need to take to protect both our environment and our own mental health, and as such I truly believe it will indeed inspire hope in the people of South Lanarkshire and beyond for generations to come. “
Cuningar Park was once a major contributor to the Industrial Revolution. It was the location of Farme Colliery from 1805 to 1931 – the last mine to be mined within Glasgow city limits.
From 1810 to 1897, the area north of the Hope Sculpture was a reservoir supplying Glasgow with water – possibly the world’s first large-scale municipal pumped water supply.
After years of decline and neglect, in 2014 Cuningar’s fortunes changed when he was chosen to become a Commonwealth Games Legacy Forest Park.
Today, the UK Geoenergy Observatory at Cuningar Loop – an open research center operated by the British Geological Survey – is helping scientists, industry and policy makers understand how hot water from these abandoned mines could be used as source of renewable thermal energy and contribute to the UK’s ambition to decarbonise its energy supply and achieve net zero by 2050.
Martin McKay, Executive Director of Regeneration at Clyde Gateway, said: “With Glasgow hosting COP26, the main United Nations climate change conference, I can’t think of anything better for the Hope Sculpture, which symbolizes the hope to build a greener, healthier future, to call home the city’s East End – an area that demonstrates that rapid transformations are possible.
“Clyde Gateway communities are used to welcoming visitors from all over the world and I have no doubt that they will be just as proud of this legacy of COP26 as they were of the Commonwealth Games in 2014.”
Bike Town, Camglen Radio and the Healthy n happy Community Trust are other supporters of the project in South Lanarkshire.
Steuart and Natalie said they felt very lucky to have been so warmly welcomed and supported by so many members of the community, including Healthy n Happy.
“They introduced us to the fabulous Geraldine Baird very early on. His friendship, enthusiasm and support really touched us and Project Hope, ”said Natalie.
“She in turn introduced us to so many wonderful people who have helped us along our way.”
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