It’s difficult to ignore the ‘elephant in the room’ at the best of times but, when it’s a lifesize metallic statue in one of the city’s prettiest parks, who would want to?
House for an Art Lover, working in partnership with Scottish artist Kenny Hunter, have unveiled a life-size Asian elephant as part of a larger art-in-the-park style project across parks in Glasgow and celebrating the city’s relationship with other countries in the Commonwealth.
Cast in part from scrap locomotive parts on the site of the 1938 Empire Exhibition in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park, the installation has been a
year in the making.
The 11-tonne elephant is part of the Legacy 2014 project and commemorates the city’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games last year.
It has been created in part using now redundant and scrap locomotive parts made in the shipyards of nearby Govan and exported to the Commonwealth. The Elephant has a direct connection to the countries where many of the trains were deployed, such as India, Pakistan, Kenya and South Africa – either as a form of transport or a creature of symbolic power.
The public artwork will be located at ground level on the site of the famous 1938 Empire Exhibition in Bellahouston Park.
Sculptor Kenny Hunter said: “After two years from planning and making, it’s great to see the sculpture finally sited in Bellahouston Park.”
Garry Sanderson, CEO, House for an Art Lover, said: “We are thrilled to be unveiling the elephant and hope that it will become a new landmark for the southside.
“It’s a celebration of our city’s strength and contribution to industrial and cultural developments across the Commonwealth and a reminder of the very successful Commonwealth Games the city hosted in 2014.”
House for an Art Lover were assisted by local engineering business, Weir Group, who cast the elephant at their foundry in Todmorden, Yorkshire; another local business, Malcolm Group, helped to transport the elephant to and from the foundry.
William Mannion, Operations Director of Weir Minerals Europe, said: “Weir exhibited at the Empire Exhibition in 1938 and as a Glasgow-based global engineering business, we have operations in many Commonwealth countries. We were therefore delighted to help turn Kenny Hunter’s and the House for An Art Lover’s exciting concept into reality. As engineers, we always like a challenge and creating a life-sized Asian elephant is one of the more unusual requests we’ve had, but we are delighted it has been such a success.”