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Celebrating people, place and past: Special artwork unveiled to launch Stirling 900

A brand new artwork that celebrates people and its history has been officially unveiled for the launch of Stirling’s 900th anniversary celebrations.

The colourful 30ft long illustration has been created by local artist David Galletly and will adorn one side of the square directly across from Stirling train station, one of the busiest in Scotland.

The artwork showcases some of the major moments of Stirling’s rich history over the past 900 years, from the Battle of Bannockburn to the opening of the University of Stirling, and mingles it with legends from the Stirling area such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Sir Andy Murray and Billy Bremner.

Artist David Galletly with his new artwork in Stirling. Pictures: Mark Ferguson/Stirling Council

David’s design was inspired by suggestions submitted by people of all ages across Stirling, and children from Riverside Primary School were among those who came along to see the artwork take pride of place in the heart of the city. 

David said: “Working on the artwork for Stirling 900 has been tremendously rewarding. My intention is to capture the history of Stirling in a way that serves both as an interesting introduction to the city for visitors, and as a playful memento for those who know it well.

“I’m Stirling born-and-raised and, despite feeling like I know the city intimately, this project has allowed me to make countless new discoveries about my hometown. Distilling 900 years into a single image is an impossible task but, by putting a spotlight on a select few characters, stories and tall tales, hopefully the energy of the city is apparent for all to enjoy.”

The installation of the artwork signals the start of Stirling’s 900th anniversary celebrations, with the city conferred Royal Burgh status by King David 1 in 1124.

An exciting programme of new and scheduled events is being created to mark the milestone over the next 12 months.

Some of the events already confirmed include a special edition of the Walking of the MarchesStirling Summer Sessions, a Stirling 900 art exhibition, a symphonic laser spectacular at the Church of the Holy Rude and events at the National Wallace Monument.

Stirling’s young people will also have the opportunity to get involved in the celebrations with a range of activities planned in schools.

Schoolchildren check out the artwork with David

Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Chris Kane, said: “David has created a vibrant piece of artwork that weaves together the story of Stirling’s history and its people over the past 900 years in a truly innovative way. It will create a fantastic first impression for visitors arriving in the city.

“This amazing artwork is a fitting way to start Stirling’s 900th anniversary and we have an exciting programme of events planned to mark the next 12 months, from international stars in concert to plays, exhibitions and a wide range of special events.

“Stirling 900 is a celebration of our past but it will also be an opportunity to look to the future, and the recent announcement about Stirling Studios show our ambition to usher in a new transformational chapter in Stirling’s story.”   

Ayyub Rehman and Eilidh Patrick, P7 pupils at Riverside PS, said: “We are really impressed with the finished result, it will look brilliant to anyone visiting the area.

“We suggested that this should be creative and we think that our voice is reflected in this design. We love it!”

The artwork project was funded by the Scottish Government’s Place Based Investment Programme, as well as Scene Stirling, Stirling’s Place Partnership which is funded through Creative Scotland and managed by Artlink Central.