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Bedford Road murals celebrate Aberdeen’s ‘different fish’

Students adorn bridge with magical seascape in community project

by Jake Roslin

The newly painted bridge and, inset, artists (L-R) Katie Taylor, Erin Donaldson, Carla Smith, Phoebe Mackie, Erin Jarrett & Georgia Walker, courtesy This Is Not By Chance.

A footbridge near Aberdeen University’s campus has become an undersea fantasy, thanks to a street art project by undergraduates at Gray’s School of Art.

Many Different Fish Swim Here is a transformation of the pedestrian railway crossing on the corner of Bedford Road and Powis Terrace, near Kittybrewster Retail Park. The bridge reopened to the public on 16 July after completion of the massive project by the collective of six artists, all finalists at Gray’s, part of RGU. The group have named themselves This Is Not By Chance, since they met on their first day on the degree programme, and have worked together ever since.

‘We were approached to brighten up the Bedford Road footbridge by Froghall, Powis and Sunnybank Community Council,’ member Georgia Walker told The Gaudie. ‘We thought that it would be a fantastic experience to share together, as well as getting a chance to work with the local community and even with local schools. As a collective, we care deeply about how our work can positively impact those around us. In the build up we hosted workshops in the Froghall Community Centre and engaged with the local community, as well as having council meetings and coming up with the final design.’

Due to the pandemic, much student work at Gray’s has been presented online, and the collective relished the opportunity to paint en plein air again. While the project took a year’s planning, the walls of the bridge were coloured in only a week, with the team working as much as 12 hours a day. Even the bridge’s surface has been painted, with the help of specialist company Geveko Markings.

Carla Smith, another of the artists, explained that the nautical theme emerged from a workshop at Froghall Community Centre, where people were asked what reminded them of their area.

‘We saw someone had written “Lots of different fish swim here”,’ she told The Gaudie. ‘We thought that this really expressed the inclusivity and diversity of the community, celebrating everyone of all races, genders and religions... we included many different kinds of animals that can be spotted in Aberdeen too – dolphins, frogs, worms, ducks and fish.’

‘We definitely find inspiration from NuArt and appreciate that Aberdeen is becoming more creative,’ continued Smith. ‘It was great to be able to create a vibrant mural in an area where there isn’t much public art work and from this we hope that our work spreads positivity too.’

This Is Not By Chance are on a mission to create positive change from art, and are looking for further commissions. ‘We believe in chance and fate and that we were all brought together for a reason!’, added Katie Taylor.


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