Glasgow & West Scotland

Squinty Bridge tribute artist in 'garbage' fight back

Brian Carey has returned to the bridge with a new message
Image caption Brian Carey has returned to the bridge with a new message

An artist whose unofficial tribute to soldiers killed in action was removed from a Glasgow bridge by the council has hit back with a new message.

The city council said it removed hundreds of crosses commemorating dead soldiers from the Clyde Arc after complaints from local residents.

Artist Brian Carey claimed they had acted "insensitively" .

He has placed a new message on the bridge which accuses the council of treating his tribute like "garbage".

Mr Carey's small plastic crosses had been a permanent fixture on the Clyde Arc, also known as the Squinty Bridge, since January 2013.

They were initially put in place to commemorate every member of the British army killed in Afghanistan, but the East Ayrshire artist took the decision to expand the work to include fatalities from all Commonwealth countries, during the Commonwealth Games last summer.

The work divided opinion from the start.

Some have accused him of glorifying soldiers, while others think the work promotes an anti-war agenda.

Mr Carey earlier told BBC Scotland: "The work was supposed to provoke - that was the intention.

"It's funny how nothing has been done until we did stuff about Syria. And now they've taken it all down."

Mr Carey said that while he respected that Glasgow City Council had the right to take down the artwork, which latterly also included political messages, it was the manner of the removal that had annoyed him.

He has now returned to place a new installation across the length of the bridge in large letters which reads: "Afghanistan and Syrian war tribute thrown away as garbage by city council"

Image caption Mr Carney said the council had been insensitive
Image copyright JOE SHALDON
Image caption When first contacted the council said they didn't know who had removed Brian Carey's crosses
Image copyright JOE SHALDON
Image caption After pictures emerged showing council workers removing them, a council spokesman confirmed they had been taken down following complaints

He told the BBC Scotland news website: "Every name on that bridge was important to somebody - be it a Syrian family or parents in Glasgow.

"They could have taken the lettering and left the crosses. They've been a bit insensitive.

"I wish they'd given me the chance to take the work down myself. It wouldn't have been hard for them to contact me."

Mr Carey said that he had also had difficulty getting the council to admit that it had taken the crosses down.

It was only after photographs emerged of council workers unfastening the crosses and loading them into the back of a Glasgow City Council marked van, that a council spokesman confirmed to the BBC that they had been removed under council orders.

Mr Carey said that despite the possible loss of his work - which he has been told may have already gone to landfill - he was undeterred.

In a statement, Glasgow City Council said: "The crosses, along with political stickers that had been placed on the bridge, were removed at the request of a councillor who had received complaints from local residents."

A council spokesman told the BBC they did not know the crosses were part of an art work, when they were taken away.

But he said they would remove any new installation, because they were acting in response to complaints.

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