A pregnant woman with her son, a solitary businessman, and a young woman texting friends – these are some of the faces portrayed in Aberdeen artist Nicole Porter’s latest work about the independence referendum.
The 7ft x 4.5ft portrait, which was unveiled at Miss Porter’s King Street gallery yesterday, features six ordinary people outside a polling station, going through the process of voting Yes or No.
The artist, whose notable works include a portrait of the former Bishop of Liverpool and the Don the Dolphin sculpture for the Wild Dolphin Project, said: “I just think that it’s such a big decision for everyone in Scotland that, as an artist, you can’t help but want to comment on it or be part of it, and encourage people to think about how they’re going to vote.”
“I deliberately picked the people that are in it because I wanted to represent the diversity of Scotland, different ages, genders and cultures, so it was important to show that.”
The models used for the portrait are Miss Porter’s friends and neighbours, who volunteered to portray some of the people who will have a say in the upcoming referendum.
Miss Porter said: “The image depicts everyone coming in and out of the polling station, which is what everyone is going to have to do come September 18, so I’m hoping that it is going to maybe hit home to people that they are going to be in this situation and they are going to have to decide what they are going to vote.”
In a recent TNS poll, almost a third of voters admitted they still had not decided how to vote.
York University student Selina Pope, who was born in Aberdeen, can be seen using her phone at the front of the painting.
She said: “This piece is something that I think everyone can relate to and it’s got some more subtle concepts, like the pregnant woman representing the impact on future generations.”
Aside from the young boy hailing Scotland with his Saltire cape, the faces in the portrait are inscrutable, and the viewer is left to question how their votes will be cast on the day.
Miss Porter said: “It is too big an historical event for people not to partake in.”
The painting echoes this statement with a message to viewers: “Please do not sit on the fence.”