Sculpture exhibited at the Scottish Sculpture Park at Caol Ruadh Summer 2017.

After a lengthy process of sculpting the original, making a 42-piece mould, casting a porcelain version and re-sculpting it, Defection was finally finished and installed in its new temporary home at the Scottish Sculpture Park at Caol Ruadh, where it was shown as part of their Biannual summer exhibition 2017.  

The sculpture is a life-size portrait of my 5-year-old son, seated with his eyes closed and breathing in. Caol Ruadh was a former refuge for young boys with health problems and living in deprived conditions in Glasgow. It was part of the fresh air fortnightly project, which sought to take vulnerable children out of the city and give them respite in a rural setting. Being partially naked, having his eyes closed and his mouth open makes the boy vulnerable and receptive and the cap gives it a link to the ocean (is he about to dive in?), the place as a refuge for children and the connection between different types of air and their impact on the respiratory systems. He is seated on a tidal 'island', from which the children residing at Caol Ruadh used to jump into the ocean for their morning swim. 

The sculpture is made from cast porcelain in order to emphasise the fragility of children and the way we as parents try to shape and hold on to our children as they grow. The porcelain gives the sculpture a sense of purity, whilst referencing the classical marble works of artists such as Bernini. Defection will appear as part of the sculpture parks biannual summer exhibition 2017, seated on a rock in the water. A solitary figure, a little merboy, he will sometimes be accessible, sometimes lost and cut off from the world. The image of a child on a rock by/in the ocean also gives connotations linked to the current refugee situation, which has changed the innocent way that we see the connection between the ocean and children.

The incredibly talented Ditte Solgaard Dunn from First Light Photography came past my studio and managed to capture the magic as I opened the kiln for the first time, taking out the still blood-warm sculpture. She since followed to me to Caol Ruadh, where she documented the installation process. 


All photos: Ditte Solgaard Dunn/First Light Photography