The face of Dundee captured in all its diversity


An art and design student has created 20 unique portraits that represent the changing face of modern Dundee.

Artist Alana Hay, 21, sketched random passers-by in the centre of Dundee all of whom had inspiring back stories.

In exchange for 10 minutes of their time, Alana etched each person and provided them each with a free copy of their portrait.

However, Alana was able to sketch a remarkable set of individuals from Snow-loving Saudi Arabians, Serbian exiles, Mormon missionaries, and people fighting back from addiction and homelessness.

Alana hopes the sketches which will go on display at this year’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design and Architecture Degree Show will capture the modern face of Dundee.

Alana hopes to capture the rich life stories in her sketches

Her exhibition is called ‘Happenstance’, and she hopes the models who ranged from 15 months to 60, and come from a variety of different backgrounds will be able to enjoy the outcome of her work.

“I’d really like to know what they think when they come face to face with their portrait.

“Dundee is a vibrant city full of lots of interesting people and I wanted to know more about their stories. My work reflects the diversity of ethnicities, personalities and appearances that make up this city.

“I deliberately didn’t ‘sell’ what I was doing. There was a sign explaining what I was doing and it was entirely up to people if they took part or not.

“The project is entitled ‘Happenstance’ to reflect the chance situation of each encounter I had with a member of the public.

“Each conversation I engaged in was a rare and rewarding opportunity to connect with people I otherwise would never have met.

“I want my work to reflect Dundee as a city and offer a glimpse into the lives of the strangers that we live alongside.”

Alana believes the sketches capture as much of the models rich life stories.

“Historically, the only people who had their own portraits were rich and important but I wanted to change this by creating portraits of the average citizen.”

“The people were incredible and so interesting. Everyone was at different stages of their lives. The people brave enough to sit down included a newspaper reporter, support teacher, performance poet and psychology researcher.

“In just 10 minutes I learned so much about them. A 9-year-old Saudi Arabian boy told me he preferred Scotland to anywhere else he had lived because of the snow.

“One person told me how one of the things they were most excited about not being homeless anymore was having walls to hang art on. One discussed their love for horses, another their son’s upcoming wedding.”

This year’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design and Architecture Degree Show will be the first to take place since the opening of V&A Dundee, 18-26 May represents Dundee’s biggest week of art and design to date.

Last year’s exhibition attracted a record attendance of 16,000, generating in excess of £1.5 million for the local economy. Students will once again be showcasing visually stunning art and design that seeks to solve some of society’s biggest problems in 2019.