Westhill’s 50 years marked by sculpture

The new sculpture at the entrance to Westill - pictured, artist Holger Lonze,  project team leader Kate Lumsden, and Sheila Kelly, who lives in the oldest property in the area
The new sculpture at the entrance to Westill - pictured, artist Holger Lonze, project team leader Kate Lumsden, and Sheila Kelly, who lives in the oldest property in the area

A sculpture has been unveiled marking the 50th anniversary of an Aberdeenshire community.

Westhill and Elrick Community Council wanted to celebrate the evolution of the town over the last half century by commissioning an artist to create a piece of public art.

In late 2016, a large question mark was built on the selected site to encourage residents to think about what kind of piece of public art should go there.

A consultation with local people revealed that the word “community” best described Westhill, so this was then chosen as the theme for the sculpture.

The Gateway Art Project team commissioned sculptor Holger Lonze to create a suitable piece of work and he chose a subject after learning about buildings which were in the area before redevelopment started, and speaking to some people who have lived in community for many years.

The sculpture was unveiled at a ceremony on Saturday.

MC was Iain Walker, who was the first head teacher at Westhill Primary and a former local councillor.

The ribbon was cut by Sheila Kelly, a former art teacher who stays in the area’s oldest property.

The project was initiated by the community council and co-funded and supported by Aberdeenshire Council, McIntosh Plant Hire and FES.

The sculpture celebrates the farming community of Westhill that has been integrated over five decades into a thriving, diverse community that has shaped the modern town.

Mr Lonze constructed the sculpture using bronze and steel sheet to symbolise the area’s prehistoric background and celebrate the offshore industry’s legacy on the community.

The two-part creation makes reference to the long-demolished crofts and cottages along Skene Road, based on photographs supplied to Mr Lonze.

His interpretation board reads: “The texture of these buildings evoke images of furrows, rolling landscape and waves.

“The latter, together with stainless steel bases, are a reminder of the relevance of the offshore industry for the town.

“The elongated, upright forms resemble standing stones and tree trunks, while the variation in height suggests growth.

“The setting on a circular mound in an east-west orientation is a reminder of the name Westhill and reference to prehistoric enclosures.”