A memorial for organ and tissue donors in Scotland is set to be added to Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden later this year, complementing an existing memorial in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery.
The £65,000 project, funded by the Scottish Government, will be helmed by internationally renowned artist Alec Finlay, who said there “is no better task for an artist or poet than to respond to complex and deep emotions, which this memorial is bound to bring up”.
He added: “There is a relationship between life and death through the gifting of organs. It’s a remarkable thing and yet it exists within a health system that belongs to all of us in Scotland. No one involved in organ donation thinks this is a simple concept but it is a reminder that we are all connected to one another, and that we can, potentially, help one another.”
According to the Scottish Government, the completed project will be “a living memorial which will involve planting and landscaping that will fit perfectly into the beautiful surroundings of the Garden”. Michael Matheson, Minister for Public Health, said it would “acknowledge the gift that is given through organ donation with a public memorial”.
Dr David Rae, Director of Horticulture at the RBGE, said he was “proud to host this memorial”, and added: “We are sure that the artwork and its location will create a sensitive and inspiring memorial for all those affected by transplantation and donation and are pleased that the whole project has developed in a truly collaborative way involving all concerned.”
Glasgow’s memorial to organ donors, the Loveseat, was established in 2000 and is fashioned out of native Scottish hardwoods. A silver leaf is attached for every deceased donor in Scotland – but the increasingly little space left on the memorial has pushed forward efforts for a new installation.
The Edinburgh memorial is expected to be unveiled in August.