The Watcher statue keeps eye on Bass Rock
The Watcher, created by Edinburgh-born Kenny Hunter, was commissioned by the centre following an open competition for artists to “create innovative and stunning new works of art to act as gateways”.
The sculpture, which has gone through several different colours before being finished off with the blue-bronze patina revealed today, depicts a man dressed in outdoor gear and carrying a camera, gazing through binoculars in the direction of Bass Rock.
The island in the Firth of Forth serves as home to roughly 150,000 gannets, making it the largest single rock gannetry in the world, and has been described by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the wildlife wonders of the world”.
Mr Hunter, who is best known for his Citizen Firefighter sculpture outside Glasgow’s Central Station, was chosen from a shortlist of 30 following a public vote, which also saw a piece by fellow Scottish artist Diane McLean selected. Ms McLean’s “gannet archway” sculpture was unveiled in December last year.
Mr Hunter, who was brought up in Musselburgh, said: “I like art that involves people, that raises questions but doesn’t try to provide all the answers.
“The binoculars obscure his face, and I think this makes him quite mysterious.
“The Watcher is an anonymous figure the public will encounter at ground level, as an equal.
“What has brought him here? He could be looking at Bass Rock, or just out to sea.
“I’d like to think that the sculpture will encourage people to be still and ask themselves what he’s thinking about, what he’s looking at and then engage with it themselves.”
Tom Brock OBE, chief executive of the Scottish Seabird Centre, thanked Mr Hunter, Creative Scotland, East Lothian Council, and the public for their help with the project.
He said: “Art is an outstanding way to inspire people about wildlife. Since opening, the Seabird Centre has supported photographers, painters and sculptors and many of their works can now be seen in and around the centre.
“This stunning new sculpture will be a popular additional attraction at the Scottish Seabird Centre.”