Andy Scott to erect John Muir ‘bear’ statue in Dunbar

Artist impression of a statue of a five metre high bear.

Picture; Deadline
Artist impression of a statue of a five metre high bear. Picture; Deadline
9
Have your say

THE Scots artist who wowed the world with The Kelpies is now planning to erect a statue of a five metre high bear.

Sculptor Andy Scott has submitted plans to East Lothian council to build the giant structure off the A1 near Dunbar.

Sculptor Andy Scott has submitted plans to East Lothian council to build the giant structure off the A1 near Dunbar. Picture; Deadline

Sculptor Andy Scott has submitted plans to East Lothian council to build the giant structure off the A1 near Dunbar. Picture; Deadline

The design document shows that the bear will be made of welded steel and be viewable from the railway and A1 road entering Dunbar.

A bear has been chosen to symbolise John Muir, who was the forefather to America’s national parks, but was born in Dunbar in 1838.

Muir, known as John of the Mountains, emigrated from Scotland in 1849, and is famous for petitioning the U.S. Congress for the National Park bill, establishing Yosemite National Park.

Talking about Scott, a design document submitted to East Lothian Council says: “His distinctive hand-crafted figurative sculptures combine traditional dexterity with contemporary fabrication techniques, and range in scale from 3 to 30 metres in height.

Picture; Deadline

Picture; Deadline

“He works in steel and bronze, with his inspiration firmly rooted in the figurative genre.”

Speaking about why the bear was chosen, it adds: “The bear symbolizes Dunbar’s most famous son, the environmentalist and forefather of the United States’ national parks, John Muir.

“Much celebrated of late, his role in the awakening of our interest in the natural world is profound.

“It has been chosen to sculpt an animal symbolic of his travels through the far-off wildernesses of America’s west, in the Rockies and Alaska.”

It is intended that the artwork will be fully galvanized to protect against the elements and will be welded to a steel base plate, which in turn will be bolted to a concrete foundation slab and fixed via eight resin anchors.

Talking about the project, Andy Scott said: “The starting point for the project was John Muir and his legacy, and he is of course most known for the national parks.

“I wanted to pay tribute to him without building a traditional bronze statue, and I was really pleased that when I suggested this to the client they accepted it, and now I’m cracking on with things.

“It will be a great opportunity to create an artwork for an imposing location and I hope it’ll look incredible when it’s done.”

Although the Kelpies cost £5 million, Mr Scott said that this project would cost significantly less, but was a private venture between himself and Hallhill Developments Ltd. rather than being funded by public money.

Speaking about the application to the East Lothian Courier, Stephen Bunyan, chairman of the town’s community council said: “It was something that we did not expect or need but once the location was planned we were reasonably happy.

“There is no doubt these statues, whatever you think of them, interest people.

“There was a suggestion of a sculpture of a different type - Apollo - on the Spott Roundabout but we though that would be a hazard.”

An East Lothian Council spokeswoman added: “This application has been submitted as part of a Public Art proposal for the outskirts of Dunbar.

“The council’s planners will review the application and provide a recommendation in due course.”

The Kelpies, 30-metre-high horse-head sculptures in Falkirk, were completed in 2013.

They were applauded by critics, winning a Saltire Award for Civil Engineering, UK Structural Steel Award and National Landmark of the Year by BBC.

They were also recognised as a “National Treasure” by the UK National Lottery.