What’s it called?
Now that the aforementioned roadworks have gone from the M80, it is possible for drivers to enjoy the full effect of the Cumbernauld Mermaid. The 33ft high mermaid, named Arria and designed by artist Andy Scott, overlooks the A80 northbound to the north of Auchenkilns junction in Cumbernauld. The £250,000 publicly funded work is the latest in a long line of monolithic sculptures springing up around the country in the name of public art.
Her form, similar to a giant metal mermaid, features two huge swooping arcs inspired by the Gaelic name for Cumbernauld, “comar nan allt”, which means “coming together of waters.” and it is hoped the work will help Cumbernauld start ridding itself of its dismal image that has seen it win the Carbuncle Award for poor architecture.
The poem “Watershed” penned by award-winning Scottish poet Jim Carruth is displayed at the foot of the sculpture, which sports a retro hairstyle meant to evoke the optimistic early days of the 1960s-built new town.
People generally don’t have anything particularly nice to say about Cumbernauld, but lets not forget some of its plus points:
It was the setting for the film Gregory’s Girl.
- It is within easy commuting distance of Glasgow but is just seven miles from the picturesque Campsie Fells.
- House prices are lower than in much of the Central Belt.
- The £40million Antonine Shopping Centre opened in 2007.
- It is a business hub boasting the world headquarters of AG Barr and Yaskawa Electronics and the UK base of OKI.
- It has its own airport.
Hmmm … maybe it needs a little more than a mermaid statue. If you were to ask local residents I’m pretty sure they’d say that Cumbernauld needs burning down and rebuilding, especially the town centre. It needs new shops, new restaurants and new bars … something to liven the place up at night. Lets hope this is just the start of good things to come for the area.