For me, no other contemporary figure embodies Scotland more than the poet Edwin Morgan, Scotland’s poet laureate. Morgan was born in 1920 and raised in Glasgow, where he subsequently studied and lectured at the university. The topics of his poems embrace contemporary Scottish life, historical figures and imaginary future worlds.
In addition to being a poet, Edwin Morgan is also a renowned translator and has a great mastery, understanding and appreciation of language. Nowhere is this more prominent than in his concrete poems, a concept he started to explore in the 1960s. Whilst Morgan kept to creating patterns on a page, another artist of the time with whom he had contact, Ian Hamilton Finlay, explored concrete poetry in a literal sense, shaping and incorporating words into actual structures. This crossover of art forms is something which Morgan has also embraced, specifically in his 'Instamatic Poems' which capture a moment and describe a scene frozen in time, much like a painting or a photograph, leaving the reader to envisage what events might have led up to the scene and what might follow.
Echoing this interplay of art and language the creator of this sculpture of Morgan, David Annand, is well known for the influence of poetry on his work, most notably his piece on Perth High Street Nae Day Sae Dark, a testimony to the poet William Soutar.
It is this combination of people, art forms and contemporary and historical Scotland which will be pulled together in the Portrait Gallery when it reopens, the aim being to create a true Portrait of a Nation to which all Scots can relate and contribute.