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Artist wants harbour site for sculpture

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By Donald Turvill
Annan and Eskdale
Artist wants harbour site for sculpture
LOST HIS HEAD . . . artist Paul Cowan says the sculpture belongs to the people of Annan

AN ANNAN sculptor whose headless statue was removed from its site in the town has slammed community councillors over their inaction to repair and relocate the artwork.

Paul Cowan’s Haaf-Netter sculture was uprooted from the Scotts Street roundabout under the instruction of Annan Community Council last November.

A long-running saga saw the fisherman’s place brought into question repeatedly. Some branded the artwork inappropriate, with more objecting to it after the head was mysteriously removed in 2018.

Justifying the decision to go ahead with the removal, Annan Community Council chairman Alan Weild said in November: “The majority of people didn’t want it there, so we kind of decided that we’d remove it at some stage.”

A video posted on social media showed a forklift truck mounting the kerb before pulling it out of the ground and driving away. The sculpture was subsequently taken to a nearby scrapyard, where it has remained since.

Now Mr Cowan plans to launch a campaign to have his work recovered and restored.

“What I want them to do is request it back and I will store it properly inside and I will also repair it, because it will have been damaged when they took it out,” he said this week.

“There’s nobody better to look after it than the artist,” he added. “Where I want it to go is down at the harbour — they have security cameras, it’s in the town and people are close by it all the time. But it’s up to the people of Annan; they own it, and as it stands just now the community council have ‘stolen’ a £40,000 sculpture from the people of Annan.”

Paul further criticised the local group for not fully-repairing the Haaf Netter’s previous plot: “They just yanked it out and all the roundabout was chewed-up and it’s just been left. That’s the first thing people see when they come into Annan,” he said.

Responding, Annan Community Council chairman Alan Weild said: “Our plans are to get it down at the shore when we can get funding for a head.

“We’re going to put a gazebo and a safe viewing area there with the history of the haaf-netting, and we thought it would be ideal to put it there once we have a new head.”

Mr Weild reiterated that the fisherman would still be on the roundabout if its head was not missing.

“Nothing’s been forgotten I guarantee you. It’s really just the weather and the pandemic,” he added.

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