The award-winning Scottish Seabird Centre, an independent visitor attraction, conservation and education charity, unveiled a stunning new sculpture by the acclaimed Scottish artist Kenny Hunter, on 28th March 2014.
Hunter, best known for his Citizen Firefighter sculpture outside Glasgow’s Central Station, was commissioned to create The Watcher by
the Scottish Seabird Centre following an open competition for artists
in 2011 to create innovative and stunning new works of art to act as
gateways to the Seabird Centre.
Following 30 original artist submissions, a public exhibition and vote,
two winning commissions were selected. Fellow Scottish artist Diane
McLean was the first to have her winning sculpture erected, with her
gannet archway installed in December 2013.
The Watcher is a life-sized figure cast in bronze at the
foundry at Powderhall Bronze, Edinburgh. The male figure is adult,
contemporary and dressed in outdoor wear, typical of a bird watcher or
naturalist. Along with his binoculars he carries a camera bag and wears
stout boots. His gaze is directed northeast toward the world-famous Bass
Rock which is home to around 150,000 gannets at the peak of the
The Scottish Seabird Centre is dedicated to inspiring people to enjoy,
conserve and learn about wildlife and the natural environment. Kenny
Hunter has an emotional connection to North Berwick which stems from his
East Lothian childhood, during which he would make regular trips to the
town. As an adult, Hunter has continued to enjoy the boat trips from
the harbour out to the incredible Bass Rock as his interest in nature
and Scottish wildlife has grown.
Kenny Hunter, artist, said: “Human relationships with
nature are very complex; we are custodians as well as exploiters of it.
As a sculptor I feel comfortable asking questions rather than making a
bold statement. The Watcher is an anonymous figure the public will encounter at ground level, as an equal. I hope The Watcher
will encourage people to venture out of their comfort zone, to look at
nature and to the sea across the Forth from the Scottish Seabird Centre.
“The public’s experience of The Watcher will be more or less
like the experience they have of North Berwick harbour and the Scottish
Seabird Centre itself, evoking the countless other departures and
homecomings that have been played out in this location throughout
Tom Brock OBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish Seabird Centre, said: “Art
is an outstanding way to inspire people about wildlife. Since opening,
the Seabird Centre has supported numerous photographers, painters and
sculptors and many of their works can now be seen in and around the
“As we celebrate Scotland’s wildlife in the year of Homecoming, this
latest addition at the approach to the Centre and looking out to the
world’s largest single island gannet colony will hopefully make people
think about our impact on wildlife and the natural environment – both
good and bad – historically, now and in the future. This stunning new
sculpture by an artist of Kenny Hunter’s calibre, with Scotland’s
wildlife as its inspiration, will, I am sure, be a popular additional
attraction at the Scottish Seabird Centre.
“We are very grateful to everyone that has supported this wonderful
initiative, in particular Creative Scotland and East Lothian Council. We
are also grateful to everyone that voted in the public competition to
choose the winning sculptures.”
The installation of The Watcher at the Scottish Seabird Centre
is the first of several key commissions to be unveiled by Hunter this
summer, with solo shows at House for An Art Lover, from 4 July to 4
September and Paxton House, Berwick-upon-Tweed as part of GENERATION,
the exhibition series celebrating 25 years of Scottish contemporary art
as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme. Hunter is also working
on a large-scale frieze commission for Leicester Square in London.
Media enquiries to Fiona Leith on 07581 056 562, or Peter Duncan on 07740 469 949.
like to think that the sculpture will encourage people to be still and
ask themselves what he’s thinking about, what he’s looking at and then
engage with it themselves.