Skip to main content
Next Post
Previous Post

Inzending Aberdeen Community Hall

Artist’s brief: Hall of Remembrance


Aberdeen City Council, supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund, is seeking to appoint an artist / craftsperson / creative practitioner to develop a design for a new art work that will act as a point of reflection and remembrance, which upon its scheduled completion in 2017 will be sited inside the Hall of Remembrance, part of the Aberdeen Art Gallery Complex.
One of just a few specially commissioned works of art; it will bring to completion the redevelopment and expansion of Aberdeen Art Gallery Complex, which is taking place 2014-2017.
Background and details of site
The Memorial Court and Hall of Remembrance was created in 1925 in response to the Great War. It was part of an expansion of the Art Gallery on this site (designed by A Marshall Mackenzie, originally built in 1885, extended in 1905 ). The Memorial Court, Hall of Remembrance and Cowdray Hall were opened by King George V and Queen Mary in 1925. The cost of the Memorial Court and Hall of Remembrance was met by public contributions.
The Hall of Remembrance works in conjunction with the external Memorial Court (the city’s cenotaph) facing on to Schoolhill and Blackfriars Street.


When I look at the assignment you’re asking for in the brief there are two things that struck me.

The first obviously is that these soldiers were so young, and especially in Scotland, so many.

The second that to me it is relatively ‘normal’ to have been able to grow up and follow an education, because no one of my age and younger (at least in the Netherlands), has had anything to do with the concept of ‘WAR’. The immense loneliness, the continuous fear and the monotony, the brutal way lives ended  like an incubus.

The loss of so many beautiful young men is incomprehensible. The need to commemorate  is also getting bigger. Today, a lot of force seems to be used to ‘divide’ instead of ‘unite’. As you can see in my CV.  I’ve been a teacher half of my life. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do as a child, although I clearly had a talent for drawing. Going to art-school was out of the question. My parents thought it was best to do something serious in life, being an artist was not even an option. I became a teacher in physical education.

It has given me a lot. People cannot be other than themselves or pretend to be, during physics class. I have guided and played, motivated and trained with more than 6000 students in two decades.  Every day I’m grateful for the endless list of funny situations and laughter or sometimes really difficult periods, these students have given me. It is a privilege to teach. Happy times. And an endless free library of images, for I just couldn’t stop drawing nor stop dreaming anyway.

When I finished Masterglass I realized that I’m not only fortunate to be able to give direction to my own life, but I’m also just beginning to understand the gift of living in freedom. I have simply lived long enough to start and finish three study’s, and that is what these men never had a chance of doing. Therefore: We need to commemorate. We need to keep searching for the’ lightness’ in being young and keep our young safe. We need to show them.

The motivation for LIGHT, MOVEMENT and COLOR I would like to share.
For no other material than ‘GLASS’ can bring a mystic atmosphere or a kind of ‘healing’ just by the changing of the light, in any space.

The brief:

I would like to make an installation using the technique of ‘Dalles-de-verre’.

Titel: ‘Back before december’

The installation will be self-supportive.
The measurements will be:
Pedestal: stainless steel about 1.20m high, 2.00 m with/latitude
Dalles: Together in total 3.00 m high, 2.00m width/latitude.

The color of the dalle will be graduating from purple to red, looking up. In this ‘dalle-wall’ you can see no figuration, it is an abstract work. Every piece of dalle is chiseled in a different way so the pieces together reflect in a different pattern. The whole project is lit by led-installation hidden in the pedestal. In this dale-wall will also be raw material, slag glass remnants from the oven.

The colors represent the thisle and the poppy, the graduation represents the loss of life. Every chiseled part represents a soul, for the chiseled parts reflect by even the smallest amount of light. The ‘slaggs’ represent the rawness and youth; for not ‘modified’ yet.

As the design has not been realized but other work in the same technique has, I will send you a concept design made in oil painting, and pictures of recent dalles-de-verre work, respectively ‘Sissu’ and  “Waterfall’.


Looking forward to  your reaction, sincerely,

Ellen van der Leeden


Inspiring Art and Music

Ellen van der Leeden

Leave a Reply