Published: 16/07/2017 07:00 - Updated: 15/07/2017 10:02

Ullapool's terracotta army 'a beautiful symbol' of community

They have been a huge attraction locally.
They have been a huge attraction locally.
AN army of tiny terracotta warriors has invaded a Wester Ross village – and melted a few hearts in the process.

The pocket-sized clay figures – 200 in total – have been hailed as a “a beautiful symbol of a community”, lovingly hand-crafted as they were for a project that supports people living with dementia.

The figures were created at community drop-in sessions and care homes by young and old hands alike over the past month and are being exhibited this week before being sold.

From Friday, the warriors will be available for sale in the gallery to raise funds for An Talla Solais’s work which includes supporting those living with dementia and their carers as part of its Dolphin Project, a six month pilot programme being run by artists and volunteers.

Jane Portal is Keeper of the Asia Department at the British Museum and was responsible for bringing the real warriors to the UK a decade ago. She said: “I am delighted to see that the terracotta warriors of the First Emperor of China are enjoying an afterlife in the Scottish Highlands where they are providing an inspiration to many. Villagers have created a fantastic mini army of soldiers fighting against dementia. They are truly a global army.”

Anne-Marie Quinn, artist coordinator for The Dolphin Project, said: “The Tiny Terracotta Army is a beautiful symbol of a community, full of individual characters, all standing together in support of people made vulnerable by dementia. The joy that has gone into creating each of these characters is tangible.”

 

The tiny warriors are inspired by their infamous Chinese counterparts - but fit in your pocket.
The tiny warriors are inspired by their infamous Chinese counterparts - but fit in your pocket.
“The ‘army’ reinforces a message that is more hopeful – that creative activity connects, stimulates and inspires people of all ages. The characters are a rallying call, celebrating a pilot project that seeks to establish an ongoing programme of creative activity for people living with dementia in Ullapool,” she added.

 

The army was inspired by a full-size replica Chinese Army General which stands guard in the foyer at Ullapool High School after school pupils visited China last year. The Tiny Army includes soldiers wearing kilts and dressed as pirates as well as a monkey and a ski-ing polar bear.

The Dolphin Project is kindly supported by The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation and Awards for All. The warriors were also created with thanks to Equal Arts as part of its Creative Age Challenge programme.

Douglas Hunter, Equal Arts’ co-director said: “The Creative Age Challenge at An Talla Solais in Ullapool will be a first for the group and we hope to capture the imagination of the public while raising funds for further dementia-friendly arts sessions.”

An Talla Solais would like to thank Steve Paterson – their cermaics coordinator – for overseeing all the work involved in creating the army and Beth Robertson Fiddes for allowing this military invasion in ‘time and chance’ her beautiful exhibition which is currently on show.

The Tiny Terracotta Army will be standing to attention daily from 10am to 5pm in the An Talla Solais Gallery until July 30. Soldiers on sale for £10 until our stock of troops lasts.

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