Alasdair Gray artwork goes on display in Glasgow Library
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Alasdair Gray artwork goes on display in Glasgow Library

25/01/2017
 
 
Polymathic genius and arguably Scotland’s greatest, and most prolific, living artist Alasdair Gray yesterday (Tuesday) unveiled his painting Cowcaddens Streetscape in the Fifties, in its new home at Glasgow’s Riddrie Library.
 
Perhaps the most famous of Gray’s artworks, Cowcaddens will take pride of place in Riddrie Library, a setting more familiar with Gray’s highly-acclaimed literary work, until January 2018 for members of the local community and visitors to the city alike, to enjoy at their leisure.
 
Talking of the artwork, Alasdair Gray said: “Cowcaddens landscape, completed in 1965, was based on sketches of Glasgow Cowcaddens and the Port Of Dundas section of the Monkland Canal made when I was a Glasgow School of Art student in the 50's.
 
“It shows what I found most exciting about Glasgow when it was still one of the world's main industrial exporters of steam ships and trains.”
 
Perhaps best known as a prolific producer of novels, short stories, plays and poems, Gray, 82, trained as a painter at the Glasgow School of Art. He worked as a part-time art teacher, muralist and theatrical scene painter before becoming a full-time painter, playwright and author.
 
Glaswegians and visitors to the city will no doubt be familiar with Gray’s artwork, with his murals appearing in many key locations across the city, including Hillhead subway station and Oran Mor, however the display of Cowcaddens marks the first time Gray’s paintings have appeared in one of the city’s 33 public libraries.
 
Riddrie Library, in the North East of the city, was chosen as the venue to house Cowcaddens as it holds special memories for the artist who was born in Riddrie in 1934, and visited the library regularly as a boy.
 
Alasdair Gray continued: “Glasgow Public Libraries were a greater source of learning to me than my secondary school, and my local Library, being Riddrie I knew best usually visiting it twice a week, if not more.
 
“I was one of those studious children allowed two non-fiction library tickets. In the humour section I found the writings of Perelman and Thurber, there was also a series of one act play books. In adult non-fiction I enjoyed the autobiographies of Jocelyn Brook, essays of Chesterton and Heine's travel writings.”
 
Councillor Archie Graham OBE, Chair of Glasgow Life, added: "Alasdair Gray is a towering figure in the Scottish art and literary scene and it is wonderful to see this stunning piece of art displayed in a venue that holds such special memories for Alasdair.
 
"The young boy from Riddrie, who visited his local library at least twice a week, went on to become one of Scotland’s most prolific authors, artists and playwrights and I would urge Glaswegians young and old to visit Riddrie Library to view Cowcaddens and discover their favourite authors, just as Alasdair did as a boy.”
 
Cowcaddens will be on display to the public in Riddrie Library from Tuesday, 24th January until January 2018. To find out what else is on offer at Riddrie Library, please visit www.glasgowlife.org.uk/libraries 
 
 
 
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