Sculpture and garden designs for people affected by past practices around the cremation of babies

The design of both the garden and the sculpture have been agreed by the Working Group which comprises of people affected by past practices around the cremation of babies.

Maja Quille was chosen as the artist for the sculpture which comprises of a bronze 1.4metre-high structure which has a flowing design of flying birds enclosing a seat. Maja’s design was chosen from a shortlist of four after 20 people submitted designs for the sculpture. The original artwork is designed to provide a focus for contemplation and reflection in the memorial garden.

Originally from Denmark, Maja is an Edinburgh-based artist and mother of two, focusing primarily on large-scale, public sculptures. She has recently completed sculptures for Napier University and Musselburgh Town and is currently finishing a large commission for Edinburgh University and the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh.

Maja said: “Working with the group has been a profoundly moving experience for me and the final design is the result of meaningful discussions human to human and parent to parent, trying to fully understand how art might play a part in the healing process.

“I feel that the resulting design accurately reflects the emotions of the group, providing a focal point that is at once beautiful and peaceful, whilst also providing a private space for reflection.”

The garden has been designed by TGP Landscape Architects and it is aimed at allowing for private emotions for families affected but at the same time be welcoming and open. The features include an arched entrance, several seated areas in the circumference of a grassed circular area with the sculpture as the main feature in the middle of the circle, and a more private area where families affected can sit, and also have names of those affected permanently inscribed on rectangular-shaped metal plates, if they wish.

It should be stressed the final exact placement and orientation of the sculpture in the grassed circular area are still to be finalised. It should also be stressed the Working Group will give an official name to the garden at a later date.

TGP Landscape Architects has been designing and delivering exemplary public realm design projects for 25 years and have worked on many heritage projects, memorial gardens and projects requiring sensitive liaison with client groups, to ensure that the final designs fully express and exceed their aspirations.

TGP prepared option designs and then worked together with the Working Group to develop its preferred option.

Mark Elliott, director of TGP Landscape Architects, said: “We see the Working Group as being an integral member of the design team, so that they have a full and complete involvement in the development of the proposals and ultimately realise a garden that is truly of their making.

“It has been an honour to work alongside the parents on such an emotive project and hope that their final garden is a place of calmness, and a celebration of Family.

“We believe that the garden design expresses the passion that has been clearly evident at every meeting, whilst its simplicity and symmetry shows a clarity and understanding that is further illustrated in their selection of Maja’s sculpture which is truly sympathetic to the design concepts of the garden.”

The area chosen in Hazlehead Park for the garden and sculpture is a secluded quieter area, away from the main park, while at the same time is easily accessible.

It is anticipated the garden and sculpture will both be installed by autumn 2018.

The Working Group set up a small working party which looked at 20 applications and shortlisted them to the final list of four which was then considered by members of the group.

The Working Group want the garden and the sculpture to evoke feelings of reflectiveness, peace, remembrance, forward looking, uplifting, sorrow, hope, love, stillness, responsibility and reconciliation.

The Working Group meetings are being chaired by John Birrell from Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland, who has vast experience in bereavement care and was a member of the Infant Cremation Commission.

Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland has offered its support to families on 0845 600 2227, and anyone affected can also contact SANDS Aberdeen on 0870 7606649 or help@aberdeen-sands.org. The meetings are being supported by Aberdeen City Council.