A new piece of artwork in the form of a sculpture relating to Shetland’s pelagic fishing industry could soon grace Lerwick Harbour’s waterfront.
The sculpture will be commissioned by a newly formed group, the Pelagic Sculpture Partnership, comprising four groups – Shetland Catch, Shetland Fish Producers’ Organisation, Lerwick Port Authority and fish agents LHD.
These four businesses have obtained match funding from Arts & Business Scotland’s New Arts Sponsorship Grants scheme, enabling them to sponsor the sculpture.
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 south end of Lerwick’s Esplanade, deemed an inspirational setting for a piece of artwork celebrating such an important part of Shetland life.
John Goodlad of Shetland Catch said: “It is long overdue that the Shetland community celebrate 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 said: “The pelagic fishery has provided so much for Shetland …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.”
Lerwick Port Authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson 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.”
LHD boss Richie Simpson said: “LHD Ltd [formerly known as] Lowestoft Herring Drifters Ltd, have been involved in the herring and 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.”
Arts & Business Scotland chief executive David Watt 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.”