Young people who have been working as part of our Creative Pathways employability programme in Glasgow for the past 10 weeks have unveiled a series of awe-inspiring abstract sculptures to line the side of the Forth & Clyde Canal.
The group – all unemployed and aged 16 or 17 – have been working with artists Kaitlyn DeBiasse and Allan Whyte since September. The young people have made incredible progress as artists, producing a strong, cohesive body of work that takes inspiration from environmental issues, disappearing industry and contemporary life in north Glasgow.
Becoming familiar with computer-aided design and 3D printing, the group have designed six stunning sculptures that show a mature understanding of how to use raw materials and negative space to convey meaning.
These sculptures were unveiled for the first time at the group’s final exhibition event at north Glasgow’s Whisky Bond arts venue on Thursday. The venue really enhanced the impact of the sculptures as the team showcased their work to friends, family and partners who have supported the project.
The project has received funding from Scottish Canals, and the team researched the history of the canals as well as gathering information from residents of the canalside through consultation events.
The group have also been concerned with environmental issues; it is one of 31 projects funded across the UK by Our Bright Future, a Big Lottery initiative that supports schemes that help young people lead progressive, environmental change in their communities.
The overarching theme of the sculpture work has been perspective: the way we look at people, places, the environment and ourselves.
You Are Here is a map of the Forth and Clyde that runs through the green space at the Possil Clay Pits, and is aimed at contrasting the greenery there with the industry that once dominated the area.
Based on the young people’s prototype, this sculpture will now created by Glasgow Sculpture Studios and installed at the Clay Pits.
Four Shadows draws inspiration from the four high-rise flats at Westercommon, and are aimed at highlighting how people can arrive at differing views of the same subject or area – encouraging people to reconsider misconceptions they may have.
Inverted Space is a concrete block using negative space to create an inverted skyline, while The Barge of Unsinkable Dreams – which involved working with local nursery children – is a symbol of the life and industry of the canal.
Inverted Wave uses curved sheet metal to make the shape of a wave and symbolises the passing of time, while Ways of Seeing uses steel and coloured Perspex in order to complement the view of Glasgow seen from the hilltop at the Clay Pits green space.
There was an employability focus to the project, which is partially-funded by Skills Development Scotland. While engaging in practical art activities, the group have been getting one-to-one support with CV-writing, job-searching and interview skills.
Further support for the project came from the Scottish Children’s Lottery, Inspiring Scotland, the Gannochy Trust and SCVO.
For more about our work with young people, please visit this section of our website.