Flood artworks go on display

Lara Green's The River Calling on the right and Joy Parkers The Great Ettrick River Mosaic on the left.
Lara Green's The River Calling on the right and Joy Parkers The Great Ettrick River Mosaic on the left.

Selkirk Common Riding, Black Bob and the Battle of Philiphaugh were just some of the topics explored at an exhibition of flood defence artworks held this week.

Across two days, Selkirk’s townsfolk were able to view and provide feedback on the designs submitted for permanent installation at three sites across the Selkirk flood protection scheme.

A Selkirk Legacy, Svetlana Kondakova

A Selkirk Legacy, Svetlana Kondakova

Eleven artists were each on hand to discuss the 13 proposals at Philiphaugh Community Centre on Monday and Tuesday.

A small model of each design was on display alongside a design board explaining each idea.

The exhibition comprised a diverse range of suggested artworks for the sites at the new Long Philip Burn Park, Bannerfield Plaza and the riverside corridor between Bridge Street footbridge and the common riding crossing point on the Ettrick Water.

Each commission is worth around £30,000, and the scheme’s board has set aside £105,000 for the project.

A Selkirk Legacy, Svetlana Kondakova

A Selkirk Legacy, Svetlana Kondakova

The designs include a sculpture reaching up to nearly 3m in height of a foot soldier from the Battle of Philiphaugh designed by Ruaraig Maciver of Peebles-based Beltane Studios.

Ruaraig claims The Pikeman would “avoid glorification of warfare or the celebration of a victory of one side over another”.

Other proposals seek to encourage user integration, such as Natasha Smith’s Mungo Park sculpture trail.

She said: “I wish to take you on a journey of discovery along the meandering burn and excite your interest in the inspiring adventurer, Mungo Park.

The Pikeman, Ruaraig Maciver - Beltane Studios Ltd

The Pikeman, Ruaraig Maciver - Beltane Studios Ltd

“The qualities this young man from Selkirk had are worth celebrating and relevant today.”

Organisers of the community arts project hope that the pieces will create a sense of community ownership as well as allow the scheme to engage with the community.

Similarly, Selkirk-based Joy Parker hopes to engage with community groups and school with her design, the Great Ettrick River Mosaic, located at the Bridge Street footpath. Each element would be designed and made by members of these groups.

This idea is echoed in Lara Green’s submission for a meeting point at Bannerfield Plaza called The River Calling.

Artist Chris Rutterford talks to Ross Thomson about his work

Artist Chris Rutterford talks to Ross Thomson about his work

She said: “A very important aspect of my proposal is the community engagement, as I would plan events groups and classes with the aim of exploring the potential of the stony area below the wooden footbridge as a community space. I want people to really use and appreciate what they have here, which is a fantastic piece of natural environment.”

Videos of some of the designs can be found on The Southern Reporter’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thesouthernreporter

All proposals can be viewed on the scheme’s website at www.selkirkfloodscheme.com/commartsproject

The decision on which artworks will be installed at each of the sites will be based on feedback from the public and will be made by the flood protection scheme’s organisers at the beginning of April, with installations to begin soon after.