School children from Glasgow’s east end took centre stage this week with a unique artistic and musical double in time for Cop 26.
Six pupils from St Anne’s Primary are featured in a stunning painting – named “Our Future” – from world-renowned Scots artist and songwriter Gerard M Burns which will hang in Glasgow’s City Chambers while a print will go on show simultaneously at Glasgow Airport.
And in an additional boost to highlight the children’s appeal to delegates, a song has been written entitled “Mother Glasgow” outlining the urgency on climate change which they will also perform at the City Chambers.
It’s hoped the two creative developments will contribute to the success of the conference in what is widely believed to be a game-changing moment in the global climate emergency.
St Anne’s has a strong tradition of promoting a love of music in the classroom and the link-up with Gerard M Burns came about after he contacted the school.
Eager to help, a choir was quickly formed while SIX youngsters were chosen to feature in the oil on canvas painting which reflects the ethnic diversity of the City of Glasgow.
Gerard explained: “Cop 26 is a pivotal moment in the history for the world when we have the opportunity to take the correct road on climate change for the sake of our children and our grandchildren.
“The urgency of the task is well documented and I wanted to create a painting which ensured the focus was on children and the stark message that their future is at stake.”
Remarkably, the song came about quite by chance after an “inspirational meeting” with the school staff and Gerard wrote most of it on the way home in the car.
The school enthusiastically agreed to not only provide children for the painting but to swing into action and begin weeks of rehearsals after the song was set to music.
Gerard – who has painted a string of A-list celebrities and two First Ministers – added: “The song and the painting provide a double creative boost and ensure the spotlight remains firmly on the future for young people as Cop26 takes place.
“It has been a remarkable collaboration thanks to the co-operation of staff, parents and pupils at St Anne’s and Glasgow City Council.”
Annemarie O’Donnell, Chief Executive, Glasgow City Council who has worked with Gerard to ensure that the children’s voices are heard and that the painting will be front and centre in the COP26 Host City Zone at the City Chambers for all visitors to view.
Annemarie said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to secure a space in the Chambers to display the stunning and thought provoking canvas ‘Our Future’ and giving our children a voice to share their climate emergency concerns and what better time than when Glasgow plays host to COP26 and the eyes of the world are upon us.”
About Gerard M Burns
Born in Glasgow in 1961, Burns graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1983 with a degree in Fine Art. Drawing and Painting have been his passion since childhood. He shared this enthusiasm throughout his teaching career, later leaving a successful post as principal of art at St Aloysius College Glasgow to pursue his painting full time.
His growing client base varies from A-list celebrities to prominent members of business communities in the UK, Canada, Europe and the USA who collect his work for both personal and corporate folios. His paintings, most noted for their modern-day translations of traditional themes, grace homes and workplaces worldwide.
A strong social justice dimension defines his approach to life in general believing that in modern-day Scotland everyone should get a second chance and that no-one gets left behind. He remains one of Scotland’s most admired and respected artists with a huge following.
His paintings can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, in the Scottish Parliament and Bute House – official residence of the First Minister.