Edinburgh College of Art student makes unique exhibition to fight bicycle theft


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A STUDENT cyclist has set up a bizarre art exhibit to combat bicycle theft – but locals fear it is a tripping hazard and could in fact be stolen.

Rowena Hutchinson has set up the facility outside St Leonards Police Station in Newington, Edinburgh, in an effort to raise awareness of the high numbers of bicycle thefts.

The 22-year-old Edinburgh College of Art student conducted a recent investigation which found Newington to be one of the areas most affected by pinched bikes in the city.

Rowena’s art exhibit could be seen outside St. Leonard’s Police Station in Edinburgh.

Rowena decided to tie up random bike parts along the pavement as part of an installation to raise awareness of the problem.

But after sharing images of the display on Facebook, many Scots were taken aback by the display and feared it could be easily robbed or tripped over.

Rowena posted her exhibit, writing: “I placed a small installation on Rankeillor Street in Newington this morning near the police station.

“After finding out the results of some investigations, I found Newington to be the worst place in Edinburgh for bicycle theft.

“I hope the work could highlight the problem in a small way.

“Will be impressed if the work is still there at the end of the day. “

Bike Theft Art Display |  Scottish News
Rowena’s art exhibit could be seen outside St. Leonard’s Police Station in Edinburgh.

The dismantled bike parts are said to represent the sad scene of stolen bikes where the parts are taken away but the frame remains on the scene.

Rowena said she painted the rooms green to make the objects stand out and tie in with the name of the exhibit: “Green Space”.

The response online has been mixed, with many social media users baffled by the campaign.

One person wrote: “Just be careful if someone trips on it!”

Another said: ‘Think it’s great, maybe it would have been better on the other side of the lamppost, less of a danger

One member of the group joked, “So that’s where all the stolen bike parts went.”

And one reviewer commented: I’m not sure what he’s trying to accomplish.

“Maybe a sign saying ‘bike thieves are operating in this area’ would be clearer… Right now, to me, it looks like a crappy old bike that has been vandalized and left behind by unwanted people.”

And another social media user wrote: “I always lock my bike next to a much better one. “#

Bike Theft Art Display |  Scottish News
Rowena posted her unique posting on Facebook.

Speaking today, Rowena said, “I wanted to create an artwork that is an issue relevant to the community.

“So many people I knew had been victims of bicycle thefts and I felt the police treated them differently from other thefts.

“This bike parts installation donated by Soul Cycle in Edinburgh is part of a larger project of painting and research to highlight the problem.

Responding to those who criticized the facility, Rowena added: “The job was only left for four hours and I did it on purpose so that it didn’t block the sidewalk, near the crosswalks and it was a bright color.

“The rope used was extremely weak and the item could have been removed very easily.

“My image didn’t do a very good job of showing this and I know the work didn’t cause any harm.”

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Kayleen C. Rice

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