Almondvale Statue

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Almondvale Statue

Post by Scottish » Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:53 pm

Query received from Gary Neile:

"Can you help? I have sent both e-mail & letter to Livingston FC asking about the Statue that stands outside their Almondvale Stadium.....but they have never replied!

So...can you tell me what it signifies, who sculpted it & when?"

Anyone have any ideas?

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Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 10:34 pm
Location: Bathgate

Post by LLD » Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:47 pm

Hope this helps

From Livingston v Clyde programme, December 9 2006:

C’MON, admit it, how many times have you walked by it, and given it no more than a cursory glance before finally making your way into the stadium? Come to think of it, how many times have you done exactly the same on the way out; never, for the slightest moment, giving it a second thought? Shame on you! Why, it’s practically an Almondvale icon, and I bet you don’t even know what it’s called!
I refer (as if you didn’t already know) to that wonderfully iconoclastic piece of sculpture which has graced the entrance to the Lions Den since day one: the aptly named, “STRIVE”
I was quite taken aback when, having decided to undertake a little research into the history of the piece, a member of staff at the West Lothian Council arts department informed me that this concrete sculpture which has stood outside the stadium since 1995 – and which everyone I know loosely refers to as ‘the statue’ – actually had a name.
I’ve passed by ‘it’ almost every day for years now, and have to admit that, until recently, I’d never really paid it much attention; familiarity breeds contempt and, to be honest, ‘the statue’ had become almost invisible to me over the years. Learning that it was called ‘Strive’ immediately transformed the sculpture from an ‘It’ into a ‘He’ and I had to leave the office to take another look.
Up close, it’s an amazingly large piece of work. Formed from colourless concrete, it looks to have been cast from a series of moulds. The base is a solid block, and bears no inscription. Out of that weighty pedestal reaches the upper torso of an obviously well-proportioned male figure, his arm outstretched, the fingers splayed, seemingly wracking every cement sinew in an attempt to gain another inch towards the sky.
Art, for me at least, is primarily about association, and I have to admit that a majority of the ‘high brow’ canvases I’ve studied over the years have left me, …. well, detached! Sculpture has always taken me just one more step towards that cultural void; I mean, I can understand Michaelangelo, but I’m afraid seeing the inscription “Woman and child” attached to two rough-hewn, 6ft tall doughnut shaped pieces of rock does – I have to say – leave me just a tad disengaged. ‘Strive’, on the other hand, seems to fit ‘the statue’ perfectly!
The name itself suggests much. Placed at the entrance to a football stadium suggests a statement of heroic intent, while being commissioned to act as a sentinel outside a simple, two-stand, 4,000 seat, third division football club, can only suggest that the sculptor attempted to use his creation in order to encapsulate a philosophy which all lower division clubs must empathise with. If that was indeed the intention, then he/she has certainly found a willing and responsive devotee in Livingston Football Club.
‘Strive’ is one of six pieces that were commissioned by the, then, Livingston Development Corporation. I didn’t track down the name of the sculptor, but I’d be delighted to hear from anyone who can put me in touch with him/her.
Later this afternoon, as you leave today’s game, why not take a wander past the reception area and take another look at the old man. Whether we win or lose, he’ll remain steadfast in his own, ageless endeavours. He was – literally – built into the foundations of Livingston FC, and the ethos he portrays has never wavered – come what may, he’ll continue striving to reach ever higher.

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