This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
Tribute to democratic legacy
A sculpture to mark the contribution of Scottish women to improving women's lives and advancing democracy is to be unveiled at the Scottish Parliament today.
The work, Travelling the Distance, was commissioned by the Executive from artist Shauna McMullan and takes the form of a collection of handwritten sentences by 100 women across Scotland about their female role models and then sculpted in porcelain.
As a permanent tribute to the dedication and sacrifice of Scottish women - past, present and future - to improving the opportunities, rights and conditions for women and furthering their democratic role it will be on display in the main hall at Holyrood after it is unveiled this evening, the date of the 88th anniversary of women voting in the General Election for the first time.
Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm said:
"I am delighted that the Executive has been able to commission this permanent tribute in celebration of the contribution of so many Scottish women.
"We have a strong, proud tradition of women's fight for equal rights and social justice in Scotland, but few formal tributes to this.
"I was intrigued by Shauna's concept and have followed with interest the development of this new artwork which embodies her journey around Scotland talking to women collecting their own words about who they thought had made a significant contribution towards Scottish life, culture and democracy.
"I hope the sculpture and these sentences will be a source of great inspiration to all who view the work."
Artist Shauna McMullan said:
"The lack of visible forms of representation of and information about women's role in the history of Scotland provided the inspiration behind the approach I took to this work.
"I simply did not know enough myself about the history of how women have played their part and in order to develop the work, I needed the involvement of many more people. It doesn't work without the contribution of women, just as our history shows.
"For me, travelling the distance is a journey through the history, culture, politics and geography of Scotland made under the direction and through the words, memories and thoughts of 100 Scottish women.
"I think the result, 100 porcelain hand written sentences is many things; a record, story, map, sculpture, document and drawing but importantly it is a viewpoint that gives a new perspective.
"The density and scale of the work reflects the scale of the contributions made by Scottish women to shaping, informing and challenging Scottish life."
Deputy Presiding Officer Trish Godman said:
"I think it is extremely fitting for Shauna's sculpture to be displayed in the Scottish Parliament, a place where our many women MSPs from all parties owe so much to women of previous generations who fought for equal rights.
"I hope people will come to see the sculpture for themselves and also the Parliament's exhibition on the women's suffrage movement which was inspired by the Executive commissioning this impressive work."
Ms McMullan travelled throughout Scotland talking to women, asking them to write a sentence and asking each woman to refer her onto another woman, from whom she would ask the same. The 100 contributors come from all over Scotland including the isles, from many different backgrounds and experiences - law, art, music, journalism, politics, community work, academia - and from several generations.
A limited edition book showing the making of the work and recording the contribution of the 100 women involved in the piece will be published next March.
The Communities Minister announced the winning commission on March 8 this year, International Women's Day. The project cost £50,000.
2006 is the centenary of the Scottish Women's Suffragette Federation.
The Scottish Parliament's free exhibition entitled 'If I can't vote, I don't count' opens in the main hall tomorrow and runs until March 9, 2007. The exhibition will focus on the different approaches used by women in Scotland to gain support for their campaign for the vote and the sense of achievement when the law was finally changed.