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The Kelpies maquettes stabled at Queen Margaret University over winter

Posted: 21st November 2014


For the first time, the set of maquettes that were used to launch the The Kelpies in New York will be on display in the UK at an outdoor public space. The equine art works will be effectively stabled over the winter months at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh (QMU).

The maquettes were the models for the award-winning 30 metre high horses heads known as The Kelpies. Together with Kelpies Marina, they form the dramatic gateway to the new section of canal in the Falkirk District linking the Forth and Clyde, which is centred within the innovative 350 hectare Helix Parkland operated by Falkirk Community Trust and funded by The Big Lottery Fund, Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals.

Hand crafted by Scottish sculptor, Andy Scott, the 3 metre high maquette sculptures will be positioned in University Square at Queen Margaret University’s campus next to Musselburgh on the east side of Edinburgh. The final design of The Kelpies is uniquely linked to this set of maquettes which recently toured the USA, appearing in Chicago, North Carolina and at New York’s Scotland Week.

Queen Margaret University has a special connection with The Kelpies and The Helix project. Working in partnership with the project partners, the University’s media practice lecturer, Walid Salhab, produced the stunning stop-motion film of The Kelpies which has been shared on social media all over the world and has received nearly 93k hits on the Helix website alone. He was the only filmmaker to have unlimited access to the full four month build phase of the momentous structures, and his mesmerising portrayal of The Kelpies when they reached completion helped launch The Kelpies in New York and in Scotland. His unique stop-motion/time-lapse filming technique has been used to great effect with The Kelpies film helping secure Falkirk’s place on the global tourist map and supporting the Council’s work in exceeding projected visitor numbers to Falkirk and the surrounding area.

Award winning filmmaker, Walid Salhab, often dubbed ‘Mr Kinetic’, due to the style of his unique filming technique, explained: “Filming The Kelpies over a six month period, capturing the build and then their final completion, was the most challenging project of my life. But it was a privilege to help bring Andy Scott’s creation to life in a stop-motion/time-lapse film.”

Walid continued: “I spent so much time filming them during the day and in the dead of night, trying to capture their changing qualities, I began to feel that they belonged to me. I think that people in the Falkirk area probably feel the same sense of ownership. To have them on display at Queen Margaret University is a dream come true. We couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present!

“Once again, I get to experience the brilliance of Andy Scott’s work on a daily basis, albeit in miniature, and to share The Kelpies maquettes with the wider QMU community.”

…/Professor Petra Wend, Principal of Queen Margaret University, said: “We are extremely grateful to Falkirk Council and we feel honoured to have the maquettes of The Kelpies housed at the University. When we created our purpose built campus in 2007 we constructed a building that deliberately faced into our new community of East Lothian. We have sited the maquettes near the entrance to our academic building so that they too face towards Musselburgh. It is also the first time that we have had art work displayed in University Square.”

University Square has a daily footfall of approximately 2500 people and senior staff and QMU believe that the maquettes will encourage many more people from the surrounding area to visit the campus.

Professor Wend continued, “We now invite people from our East Lothian and Edinburgh communities, and from further afield, to visit our campus and see the maquettes. Hopefully, this will whet their appetite to see the full sized Kelpies in all their glory and to enjoy the amenities of Helix Park in Falkirk and the surrounding area.”

Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for tourism, Councillor Adrian Mahoney, said: “The Kelpies maquettes have become travelling ambassadors for Scotland and the Falkirk area and we are delighted they are being looked after by Queen Margaret University this winter, giving them pride of place as the first major sculpture to be on show in University Square.”

To celebrate the arrival of the maquettes at Queen Margaret University, the Preston Lodge Pipe Band played a set of Scottish tunes in University Square. The juvenile band, which is made up of pupils from Preston Lodge High School in Prestonpans, East Lothian, play at major university celebrations such as graduation.

To watch Walid Salhab’s film of The Kelpies visit:

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