Design ideas for Iolaire anniversary

One of the proposals offered centres on the idea of a wreath which also incorporates rope (used in the rescue), a kit bag handle and some Christian symbolism with the suggestion of a cross in the design.

One of the proposals offered centres on the idea of a wreath which also incorporates rope (used in the rescue), a kit bag handle and some Christian symbolism with the suggestion of a cross in the design.

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A collection of diverse ideas for a new sculpture to commemorate the Iolaire disaster for its 100th anniversary on January 1st 2019 was voiced at An Lanntair arts centre, Stornoway yesterday (Monday) evening.

A large audience listened attentively as a panel of artists Will Maclean RSA, Marian Leven RSA and Arthur Watson RSA explained the inspiration behind the various design ideas which have been on display in the foyer area of the arts centre over the Easter weekend.

Another idea presented would see the names of those who were on board the Iolaire projected on to the water at the anniversary each year.

Another idea presented would see the names of those who were on board the Iolaire projected on to the water at the anniversary each year.

The original remit for the designs was to create a bronze sea or land sculpture to be located on or near the site where the vessel was wrecked.

It is intended that it will complement the present memorial, encourage deep reflection, symbolise, represent and commemorate survivors, those lost, their families and the survival of the community itself.

When the presentation was opened to the audience it was soon clear that many felt it would be appropriate if the names of those who were on board the Iolaire (both those lost and those who survived) were included in the memorial.

A point was made that the headstones of those lost do not mention the Iolaire at all, but instead state the last ship that the man had served with and that the memorial should include the names (and perhaps also the nicknames) of those on board.

A beautiful image of a coiled rope (respresenting the rescue attempt) which would be worked in bronze was another idea offered.

A beautiful image of a coiled rope (respresenting the rescue attempt) which would be worked in bronze was another idea offered.

A suggestion of commemorating the disaster at Stornoway Harbour was also held to be appropriate as that is where the vessel should have berthed to allow the men to step foot on to home soil once more.

A wider proposal talked of the creation of a coastal path from Holm to the harbour and for each of the communities who lost men to have smaller versions of the memorial or some other commemorative aspect for the 100th anniversary.

The panel were grateful to the many ideas generated by the evening and it is hoped that this collaborative approach will find a design which will meet with wide approval.

Feedback from the evening is expected to be available online and further consultation on the proposals is ongoing.

An eagle (incorporating Christian symbolism) on top of a weather vane (representing the changes in wind and weather) on top of a tall column was a striking design idea.

An eagle (incorporating Christian symbolism) on top of a weather vane (representing the changes in wind and weather) on top of a tall column was a striking design idea.

When the design idea is finalised An Lanntair will develop a funding strategy, which will invite people to contribute through crowdfunding and subscriptions to the development of the sculpture.