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ANDREW BATCHELOR: Dundee's Art And Design Industry Is A Dominant Force In The City's DNA

Art and design have been the dominant force in Dundee's recent regeneration as a city, and as World Art Day is celebrated this week, I think it is rather fitting to celebrate Dundee's relationship with the industry.

It is especially so during the year that marks the 10th anniversary of Dundee gaining UNESCO City of Design status.

Dundee's roots in the field of art and design actually spawns back to DC Thomson publishing its first comic books in the 1930s, like the Dandy and the Beano, and ever since then it has grown to new heights.

Think about it, shortly after the Dandy and the Beano were published, Timex set up in the city, creating watches and then home computers like the ZX Spectrum, and then by the 1990s, we have Abertay University launching the world's first computer games design degree which is an incredible feat.

One of the newer additions that we have seen is the introduction of public art and graffiti art in the city, which has helped add to Dundee's unique identity and it is something I hope we get to see more of.

From the late Tony Morrow's Dun- dee Dragon and Desperate Dan statues, which were installed in the 1990s, to the new dolphins sculptures by Fanny Lee Lamb on Broughty Ferry Esplanade, it is amazing to see Dundee's stock of public art continuing to grow over the past three decades.

And thanks to the likes of Open/Close Dundee and Dundee Graffiti Jam, we have iconic pieces of public graffiti art in and around Dundee, some of my favourites include the Dundee Law and the peh on Albert Street, and the Oor Wullie mural on the Hilltown which was painted as part of the Graffiti Jam, which has been running in the city since 2003 and is the largest event of its kind in Scotland.

It also brings artists from around the world to Dundee, which is brilliant.

I also love some of the artworks by Syke, a local graffiti artist, his Still Game murals are amazing!

I think there is a real fondness for our public artwork, with the Dundee Penguins at the Nethergate getting a significant amount of praise, and it has really helped advance the city's art and design industry.

Dundee's art and design culture is something which we should be so proud of, not just because it is brilliant, but because of the people who live, work and study here who have helped make it one of the best in the world.

This column originally appeared in the Evening Telegraph / The Courier on 16 April 2024.


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