Artwork to celebrate Shetland’s Pelagic Fishing Industry

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A newly formed group, the Pelagic Sculpture Partnership, comprising Shetland Catch, Shetland Fish Producers’ Organisation, Lerwick Port Authority and LHD, in association with Shetland Arts hope to commission a brand new piece of artwork for Lerwick harbour front.

The sculpture is being sponsored by the four businesses who have been successful in obtaining match funding from Arts and Business Scotland’s New Arts Sponsorship Grants scheme. Shetland Arts will be managing the project on behalf of the group.

The sculpture is intended to reflect, as well as celebrate, Shetland’s long association with pelagic fishing. The chosen artist (if not from Shetland) will be expected to spend part of his or her time in residency here, researching the subject and taking part in activities and workshops with the community.

The proposed site is at the far end of Lerwick’s harbour front, and is intended as an inspirational setting for a piece of artwork celebrating such an important part of Shetland life.

John Goodlad, of Shetland Catch, stated,

"It is long overdue that the Shetland community celebrated the importance of its fishing industry and what better way than through a piece of public art which everybody can enjoy."

Brian Isbister of Shetland Fish Producers’ Organisation commented that, ‘The pelagic fishery has provided so much for Shetland and we are pleased to be involved with this art project that will not only reflect on how successful our association with this fishery has been, but also serve to remind us how crucially important a successful pelagic industry remains for Shetland’s future.’

Richie Simpson of LHD additionally commented that, ‘LHD Ltd., and formally Lowestoft Herring Drifters Ltd., have been involved in the Herring/Mackerel fisheries in Shetland since 1900 and are delighted to see recognition of the huge contribution it made, and still makes, to the Shetland economy.’

Sandra Laurenson of Lerwick Port Authority said,

"The very existence of Lerwick as a town started due to trading with the herring fishers centuries ago and it is fitting to have a sculpture celebrating this enduring relationship continuing now with the modern pelagic sector. I am excited to see how the chosen artist will interpret this vibrant industry that is the foundation of much that happens in the port”

David Watt, chief executive of Arts & Business Scotland, added, ‘This is a fantastic community arts project which Arts & Business Scotland is delighted to have been able to support through the New Arts Sponsorship Grants scheme. To secure sponsorship from not one, but four businesses is testament to the commitment and passion from within the local area to make this project a success.’