Glasgow Clyde College students’ Robert Burns artwork showcased at The Scottish Parliament

A group of talented students from Glasgow Clyde College have spoken of their pride at seeing a mural they created of Robert Burns exhibited inside The Scottish Parliament for Holyrood’s annual Burns Supper. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among those to attend the mural’s unveiling and praised the students for their talent and artistic flair.

Eleven students from the college’s Skills for Life and Work programme have been channelling their creativity into the portrait, which is a collage made from recycled packaging from traditional Scottish products, including more than 175 Irn-Bru bottle tops and Tunnock’s teacake wrappers, as part of a Scottish Studies unit. The mural also pays homage to breaking news in Scotland as Rabbie’s tie is made from recycled pages from The Herald and the Evening Times.

Student Kieran Boult, who is from Baillieston, shares a birthday with Robert Burns and will turn 19 on Sunday. The student said: “The art project was a little bit different from anything we have done before and I was happy to do it, especially as all the material we used was Scottish. My mum was quite surprised when I told her some of our work was going to be displayed in the Scottish Parliament.”

Seventeen-year-old Gary Ball, who is from Darnley, added: “We brought in a lot of the material used to make the mural. Although I didn’t eat too many Tunnock’s teacakes, I drink a lot of Irn-Bru anyway so contributed quite a lot of bottle tops.”

Anniesland MSP Bill Kidd, who helped get the artwork put on display in Parliament, said: “I think it’s incredibly important that students get recognised for the fantastic work they do so I am absolutely delighted that so many people will have the opportunity to view this wonderful piece of art at The Scottish Parliament’s annual Burns Supper. The amount of work the students have put into this project is astonishing – the finished piece is very artistic and incredibly clever.”

Carol Riddet, Skills for Life and Work lecturer at Glasgow Clyde College, said: “The course is designed for young people who have additional support needs and wish to improve their independence and employability skills. The students have spent several weeks working on the mural, which aims to pay homage to some of Scotland’s best-known products and brands. Seeing the picture on display was incredible and I am so proud of the students for all their hard work and grateful to Bill Kidd MSP for his help and support.”

Ahead of the visit around 120 delegates from around the world for the parliament’s Burns Supper, Tricia Marwick, the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, said: “I am so pleased that we have the Robert Burns portrait on display at the Scottish Parliament and I am very much looking forward to it being showcased at the annual Burns Supper event. Delegates from all over the world will get to see it and the students should be very proud of themselves for this incredible achievement.”

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