MEMBERS OF THE TEAM behind the placement of three sculptures in the centre of Elgin have moved to defend their decision – and in particular the controversial ‘Dandy Lion’.
Following insideMoray’s report on Monday that a local councillor had spoken out against what he called the “cultural vomit in technicolour” of the Lion sculpture social media was alive with a storm of opinion.
While the majority were backed Councillor Sean Morton’s call for a rethink over the Lion, there was some support for the unusual tribute to Elgin’s past.
Former Moray College UHI Principal Mike Devenney was firmly in support of the work being done to improve Elgin by Castle to Cathedral to Cashmere, the body behind the sculptures: “Congratulations are due to the committee for their unstinting efforts over many years to bring about badly needed initiatives to revitalise Elgin’s town centre.
“Anyone who has been following their efforts closely will know that this is but the latest stage in bringing about various changes that will bring Elgin’s past to life in ways that will make its fascinating story much more accessible to people – and joined up throughout the length of the Castle to Cashmere trail.
“It was never likely that everything new involved would satisfy everyone but I dare say that other towns, such as Alloa, which have already invested, successfully, in trails that include sculptures, will also have attracted their fair share of detractors (to start with at least).
“The question in my mind to them is, what are you going to do to make a difference, when we would all surely agree that change and improvement are essential?”
However, Peter Willis responded: “I agree that some investment to make the High Street more attractive and to perhaps highlight heritage to visitors is a good thing.
“However, the Dandy Lion is just a mess and the funders were robbed on that. Imagine if it was a bronze of Dr Gray looking towards the hospital – I’m sure there would be a lot more happy Moravians with that.”
Andrew Mackie added another interesting slant to the debate: “Apart from the hideous Lion/Fish that will be the joke of the nation please can someone explain the positioning?
“The best looking piece is stuck in a corner where very few people walk and most are busy watching the busy road.
“Surely this should have been positioned for the public to admire and discuss. Also [I] wish to know where the funds will come from for repairs when the paint fades/flakes or upkeep cleaning the birds mess from it.”
Last night Castle to Cathedral to Cashmere board member Ian Urquhart insisted that the works were chosen to “spark the imagination” of those who live and work in Elgin.
He added: “The review panel featured members of the Cathedral to Cashmere partnership and external advisers who chose four designs from the 10 received. After evaluating each concept the four were put on public display in June for comment and three were chosen.
“There was more than 750 positive responses and we were particularly pleased to see positive engagement from young people.”
Meanwhile the Dandy Lion’s creator has opened a Facebook page where she attempts to explain the concept behind her work and how it was created.