Look Again Visual Art & Design Festival

Six of Aberdeen’s best-known monuments have been dressed to impress to mark the launch of the groundbreaking Look Again Visual Art & Design Festival which was launched this week.

Artists Gordon Burnett, Colin Priest and Helen Schell with Professor Chris O’Neil, Head of Gray’s School of Art at RGU.The transformation of the city centre statues into a new, eye-catching sculpture trail forms the centerpiece of a five-day celebration of visual art and design. It will also see an exciting range of workshops, talk and exhibitions taking place throughout the city.

The Look Again festival, which runs until Sunday 12 April 2015, will challenge the way we see the Granite City – making us take a second look at our surroundings and have a new appreciation for them. The event has attracted international attention and will underline the north-east’s position as a key cultural destination.

Sally Reaper, founding director of SMART Consultants said: “People in Aberdeen are rightly proud of our rich cultural heritage but we need to shout much more loudly about what a great place the north-east is.

“Look Again aims to capitalise on that pride. We want to encourage people to become tourists in their own city and see Aberdeen in a new light.

“It doesn’t matter if you’ve never stepped foot in an art gallery or are an arts buff there’s something for everyone. The most important thing is for everyone to get involved, have fun and show their support for building a thriving creative heart in Aberdeen.”

Six acclaimed artists were commissioned to create the landmark Look at Me sculpture trail that sees Robert Burns, in Union Terrace, dressed in bright knitted socks and 3D printed headphones; William Wallace, in Rosemount Viaduct, becoming a space-age warrior; Robert the Bruce, in Broad Street, covered in ceramic birds; The Mannie, in Castlegate, turned into a chatty Aberdonian; General Charles Gordon, in Schoolhill, knitting bombed and Albert the Prince Consort, in Union Terrace, transformed into a blue-sky thinker.

The Wallace Monument dressed as a space-age warrior.Lively, interactive tours of the sculpture trail will be held daily where visitors will be kept captivated, entertained and informed. These will leave from Seventeen, Belmont Street, which is acting as the festival hub.

Local community groups and staff and students at Robert Gordon University (RGU) are playing a central role in the new festival.

A group from Sunnybank Community Centre has drawn of their life experiences to inspire their creation of the ceramic birds that cover the Robert the Bruce statue, in Broad Street, while a team of budding documentary makers from Garthdee Community Centre are capturing the festival as it happens and will showcase their fly-on-the-wall film online.

Head of Gray’s School of Art at RGU, Professor Chris O’Neil, said:  “Look Again is a really fantastic festival which aims to put Aberdeen and the North-east firmly on the cultural map by building on the work of other great events that happen here.

“There will be a huge amount going on in the city over the next few days and I would encourage people to embrace it and get involved in any way they can.”

Elsewhere, Look Again is acting as a springboard for established and up-and-coming local talent. This includes:

  • Dominika Hadelova, Caitlin Hynes and Morgan Cahn who have collaborated to create a modern and innovative moving plinth – awardees of Aberdeen City Council’s Made In Aberdeen Artist Commission
  • Exhibitions by Gray’s School of Art Application Supervisor in Printmaking Cameron Ross and Established artist and graduate Ronald Plowman
  • An exhibition held at Seventeen, in Belmont Street, from students at the School of Architecture who present future designs for a temporary building, which will act as the hub for future Look Again festivals
  • Following a digital design competition for undergraduate students in honour of George Kelly, a selection of work in relation to the project will be exhibited in the Georgina Scott Sutherland Learning Centre Exhibition Space. The winning design will be projected in the mural’s original place at Garthdee House

Look Again 2015 is the first in a three-year strategy that brings together world-renowned, UK-based and budding young artists. The festival is being spearheaded by a partnership between SMART, RGU and Aberdeen City Council.

Elspeth Winram, cultural planning officer, Aberdeen City Council, said: “Look Again is another really exciting event for Aberdeen, which along with the city’s other festivals highlight the huge array of cultural offering residents, those working in the city and visitors alike can enjoy.”

Look Again was officially launched during an event at Seventeen, in Belmont Street, on Wednesday evening (Wednesday, April 9).

Festival programmes and further information are available at Seventeen and at www.lookagainfestival.co.uk

Posted by
Ross Anderson

Communications Officer | Health and Sport

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