25 August 2010

Arria - Amazing 10 Meter High Sculpture for Cumbernauld Unveiled

She stands ten meters high – the height of two London double decker buses – and she is beautiful. Her name is Arria and she will guard the entrance to the Scottish town of Cumbernauld, a symbol at once of its aspirations and potential for renaissance.

One can only hope that the man helping to install Arria from the inside managed to get out before the pieces were fixed together permanantly. Arria was created by the internationally renowned artist Andy Scott (who you can see in the pictures here), who is best known for his Helix Water Kelpies and the Heavy Horse, two pieces which also have their home in Scotland.

Her position on the A80 motorway means that she will be seen by close to a million people every day, which will soon make her one of the most viewed sculptures in the UK. She already has her own Facebook Page too, so if you like her, give her the thumbs up!

Cumbernauld lies two miles away from the line of the Antonine Wall, perhaps lesser known than Hadrian’s Wall but which was built to replace it and to extend Roman influence in to Scotland by another 100 miles.

Arria Fadilla, from whom the statue takes its name was the mother of Emperor Antoninus who ordered the construction of the wall. The name was chosen as a result of a competition. Of course, we also know aria as a type of song commonly found in operas, and the sculpture does indeed, with her arms outretched, look as if she is about to burst in to song - like some sort of four armed sixties pop diva.

The name Arria was suggested by Pete Reid and his two daughters Louise who is fourteen and eleven year old Bethany who live in Cumbernauld.  We have previously featured the sculpture on Kuriositas when we showed you a behind the scenes glimpse of her creation.

Of course, she may end up being better known by a nick name - and the most popular one at the moment seems to be The Metal Mermaid.

Arria did not come cheap – she cost over a quarter of a million pounds (as part of the Cumbernauld Positive Image Project) but the local council is delighted with the work and it is hoped that Arria will bring pleasure to the many millions of people who will pass her each year.

It is hoped too that the sculpture will give a boost to the town, towards which Arria’s arms are outstretched. The artist’s inspiration for the work came from the idea of using the past as a way to look towards the future and as such the piece is a visual metaphor for the aspirations of the local community.

And what a wonderful metaphor Arria is! Perhaps she is a talisman for the town and knows that the fortunes of Cumbernauld are about to improve.  After all, four armed is forewarned.

All images courtway of Cumbernauld Positive Image Project and North Lanarkshire Council.