SCOTTISH sculptor Kenny Hunter has told how he spoke with frontline staff when researching what is “believed to be the first tribute of its kind in Scotland to be dedicated to NHS staff”.
The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) has appointed the renowned sculptor to create a memorial which will be sited in the grounds of the College’s Nicolson Street headquarters.
The sculpture will include four life-size figures, is set to be completed by summer 2022.
While conceptualising the design, Mr Hunter spoke with a variety of people who spent time working on Covid wards over the last 15 months to inspire his work.
Mr Hunter said: “As a native of Edinburgh, I am proud to have the opportunity to work on this important project. During the development stages I have spoken with frontline staff and built up a picture of what it has been like to work through the pandemic.
“Through these discussions a contrasting picture of light and dark has emerged – of exhaustion and frustration – but also pride in their work and a strong sense of camaraderie.
“I am eager that the committed and collective effort of so many healthcare professionals comes through in the final design of the sculpture.”
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The project will take around a year to complete from the initial planning phase to the unveiling. Creating the sculpture in clay before it is cast in bronze itself will take around four months.
Professor Michael Griffin, RCSEd president, said: “The pandemic has presented us with one of the biggest challenges we have ever faced, and tragically, many healthcare workers have lost their lives as a result of working on the frontline to save the lives of others.
“We felt it was important to honour the lost lives of our colleagues and to celebrate the incredible work of healthcare professionals. I believe this sculpture will serve as a poignant tribute to those we have lost and will ensure their memory lives on for many years to come.”
Mr Hunter is an award-winning sculptor and also a lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art. Examples of his work can be found across the UK and include Citizen Firefighter in Glasgow.