North Ayrshire Council and Greenspace Scotland have appointed a creator to produce an artistic installation as part of the national Covid memorial project, Remembering Together.

The finalist selected to take the project forward is Aeneas Wilder, an Edinburgh-born artist who has been working internationally for over 25 years. 

Initially studying sculpture in Dundee, his work encompasses large-scale installations and central to all his work is a sense of transience and impermanence.

He has worked around the world with multiple exhibitions in Japan, The Netherlands, Belgium, USA, France and the UK.

Irvine Times: Guided walks with Icecream ArchitectureGuided walks with Icecream Architecture (Image: NAC)

Located at Eglinton Country Park, the aim of the Remembering Together project will be for Aeneas to sensitively create a piece of public art that will reflect the diversity of experiences of our community during the pandemic.

The final piece of art is intended to be a space for reflection and sharing of community experiences.

Irvine Times: Schoolchildren contributed towards the design tooSchoolchildren contributed towards the design too (Image: NAC)

Aeneas’ design was chosen because it has a connective sculptural approach with cleverly and thoughtfully positioned seating and so this perfectly encapsulates Remembering Together’s overarching themes, identified by the public, of:

  • Human connection and interaction;
  • Meditation and relaxation;
  • The things we missed most;
  • Natural scenery and experiencing the outdoors;
  • The art piece created is intended to provide an artistic approach to public infrastructure, where people can sit together, reflect, spend time together and play.
  • Most importantly, it will be a memorial to represent all the people of North Ayrshire.

Irvine Times: Memories shared via postcardsMemories shared via postcards (Image: NAC)

Aeneas said: “It is a great privilege to have the opportunity to connect and work with the communities of North Ayrshire and greenspace scotland to realise this project.

“The North Ayrshire Remembering Together Covid Memorial is my first major project in Scotland and is significant to me in that it will be a community inspired and monumental work, that commemorates and acknowledges the immense efforts, sacrifices, losses and love that everyone experienced and went through during the pandemic.

“This is such a unique opportunity. I can’t wait to get started.”

Irvine Times: Recalling memories through art workshopsRecalling memories through art workshops (Image: NAC)

An initial design brief has been created in collaboration with local communities following a series of successful community engagement sessions held across North Ayrshire. The most popular design and thematic aspects from the public consultation were then identified and developed into a design brief.

Councillor Alan Hill, cabinet member for communities and islands, said: “I am delighted that we have selected Aeneas Wilder, a talented Edinburgh-based artist, as our creative practitioner to steer the helm of this important memorial project.

“Thank you to everyone who has shared their experiences and memories so far and to the other creative practitioners who submitted their designs for the final round.

Irvine Times: Consdering what a memorial could be on a guided walkConsdering what a memorial could be on a guided walk (Image: NAC)

“I would also like to share a special thanks to Icecream Architecture who have done a superb job engaging with our communities and helping us to troubleshoot how everyone’s unique community ambitions can be taken into consideration.

“With over 200 stories of pandemic experiences, thoughts and feelings received from our residents and the recent thought-provoking model-making sessions now complete, it’s time for Aeneas to take this all on board and use his creative expertise to execute his design brief and bring the Remembering Together project to its conclusion.

“I look forward over the coming months to see the community memorial take shape. If you would like to get involved, an upcoming event will take place on Tuesday, May 21, from 3pm at Eglinton Park’s Racquet Hall. Come along to find out more.”

Irvine Times: Making 3D models at LochshoreMaking 3D models at Lochshore (Image: NAC)

The project is funded by the Scottish Government in partnership with Greenspace Scotland and of the groups that engaged in the consultation, local people specifically shared that they were not keen to relive or examine the realities of the pandemic too closely.

Instead, the purpose of the art memorial for North Ayrshire would be to help people to move on from the pandemic while incorporating opportunities to remember and heal.

Aeneas will be supported by the Arts and Culture team and staff from North Ayrshire Ranger Service alongside a host of local community partners to fully realise the project.

It is anticipated that the build will commence this month, with an estimated completion date of September 1,