Alasdair Gray shows new work at bursary launch

Alasdair Gray (2nd from left) with (L to R) Kevin Brown, Pro Alan Riach and Sarah Mason Image copyright Saltire Society
Image caption Alasdair Gray (2nd from left) with (L to R) Kevin Brown, Prof Alan Riach and Sarah Mason

Scottish writer and artist Alasdair Gray has made a rare public appearance at the launch of a new bursary to be awarded in his name.

The £1,000 award will be made by the Saltire Society in November to a post-secondary school student, considering a career in music, fine arts, theatre, dance of cultural studies.

The society said it would give a young artist the opportunity to research and explore their own creative ideas.

It was launched at the opening of a small exhibition of Alasdair Gray's work in the Saltire Society's offices.

Image copyright Alasdair Gray
Image caption Alasdair Gray's reflection on Ozymandias, unveiled at the Saltire Society

The 82-year-old spent six months in intensive care after the fall at his home in Glasgow in the summer of 2015.

He has begun working again on a number of projects, although he said it was "not as much as I'd like".

He said: "If I was able to walk or stand up, I would be able to paint on a bigger scale, the scale I formerly worked on.

"There are a number of big pictures I'd like to finish and some I'd like to start."

He said he was delighted the Saltire Society had launched the bursary in his name.

"It's as important as it's ever been," Gray said.

"It helps if you can find someone who likes your work and is prepared to finance it, and that's not easy."

Image copyright Alasdair Gray
Image caption Alasdair Gray's depiction of The Tower of Babel

But he said he was glad he would not be involved in choosing a winner.

He said: "I was asked some years ago for advice on how an artist could work and I suggested they sub-let rooms in a house because you could have a steady income and you could work without distraction.

"The young artist thought I was making fun and of them and I wasn't.

"It's very difficult indeed to persuade someone to support you. Unless they see your work and decide it's great and give you enough money to work on the next one."

Sarah Mason, programme director of the Saltire Society, said the bursary entry was "very open".

She says: "If you have a project of interest to the society and to Scotland as a whole, don't be afraid to give us a call, or an email saying 'what do you think?'

"The important thing about art and culture is that you do it."

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