Unseen Alasdair Gray mural unveiled in Glasgow

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Mural section
Image caption,
A section of the work that will be on show from the 12th of February

A reworking of a mural created by Alasdair Gray has been revealed to the general public for the first time.

The artwork was originally designed for a close friend as a present.

Installed in 1965, the work has always been behind closed doors in a house in the west end of Glasgow. But it has now been redesigned for an exhibition in the city's Lighthouse centre.

The reworked inkjet print was made using a combination of photography, computing and printing technology.

The artwork is not an exact replica of the original, with Gray keen to modify certain aspects.

He said: "To restore it I was able to redraw parts of it in my own studio working at my studio desk in my wheelchair on parts which were enlarged by working with Lin Chau who scanned them in and enlarged them.

"I decided I would like to colour in parts of it, so we did that too, so its not exactly a replica of the mural, though it does copy some major parts of it."

Image caption,
Original mural pictured by Oscar Marzaroli

The mural was a wedding present for a friend who wanted Gray's work in his house.

"I have no title for it at all," he explained.

"It was commissioned by a friend of mine, George Singleton. I painted it as a wedding present to him and his wife.

"He wanted a big black and white mural on the stairwell of his new house and he left it to me how to do it. He wanted it in black and white because he preferred my drawing to my painting."

The four-metre high piece does not have one main theme but involves aspects of the artist's earlier works.

He said: "I didn't have any ideas for the mural just a great big goddess mother-woman, in front of a couple of armoured figures that were initially in my painting for the Scottish USSR Friendship society in my last years at art school.

"I put lots of little ideas from earlier sketches or drawings."

Image caption,
The artwork is not an exact replica of the original with Gray keen to modify certain aspects

Other collaborators involved in the new work include Roger Farnham, an engineer, photographer and printmaker who has known Gray for over thirty years, and Lin Chau, who worked closely with Gray on the Hillhead Subway station mural.

The artist had been keen to modify the original but after discussions with Farnham, the project moved on - with Chau, who described Gray as "a perfectionist", joining the project to help make changes to the piece.

Lin Chau said: "With Alasdair's drawing I would have a scan and then touch it up and put all the images together in one file, like assembling it.

"It has been quite a few months work - even though we spent a lot of time drawing he still wants to redraw it all, or discard it completely."

Facsimilization will be on display in the Review Gallery at The Lighthouse between 12 February and 25 March.

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