....Research Topics and Speculation about Art and Public Space by Scottish Citizen and artist Matt Baker

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Marks of Time IV

Anyone familiar with my work will know that The Three Virtues project in Inverness was a very important project for me. Particularly in the way the process see-sawed between my control and that of the momentums at work in the Highland Capital. The original stimulus for the work was the City's loss of three Victorian statues 'Faith, Hope and Charity' and the quest to return them to Inverness.

Faith,Hope and Charity in their original position atop Grants Tartan and Tweed Warehouse, High St, Inverness. The building was demolished in the early 1950s and the statues sold to a private collector on Orkney.
 My work took the form of a large scale public discussion of the role of Virtue in a city and the selection of three contemporary virtues to serve Inverness in the 21st Century - these were made manifest as a new public space formed by 3 'outcrops' each named for one of the new virtues (Perseverance, Open-Heartedness and Insight) and planted with a Birch tree.
There is documentation on this project on my website (open 'urban' menu and select 'Three Virtues') 

Just as my work was being completed in Inverness and opportunity arose for the City to buy back the original statues - the sale was concluded and, following a consultation process over a new site, Faith Hope and Charity were returned to their former home after an absence of more than 50 years!

An interesting example of how even 'permanent' artworks can be part of a continuing momentum and process of change in a place...

The following pictures are from the unveiling ceremony held on 22nd October:

The three 'speakers' were reprising a performance inspired by the "Three Graces" (as the statues were known locally) - a performance piece written by Sophie McCook and originally presented as part of the 'Imagining the Centre' artwork in 2006

Rev Fiona Smith of Ness Bank Church

Artist John McGeoch of Arts in Motion - John also worked on the opening for my Three Virtues as well as both 'Imagining the Centre' and 'Re-Imagining the Centre'

Put me in mind of the opening event for The Three Virtues:

Rev Peter Nimmo blessing 'perseverance' March 2008
The Three Virtues
All photos courtesy of Ewen Weatherspoon


  1. Hi Matt,
    looked like a lovely ceremony and glad you were able to use the performance piece I wrote. I would have loved to have seen it but unfortunately no one told me about it.


  2. Hi Sophie - lovely to hear from you. I wasn't there either and had no part in the planning of the unveiling. Susan kindly sent me some pictures. Hope all good with you