Sculpture of
‘Kenn and the Salmon’

Dunbeath Heritage Museum

This artwork located by the harbour in the village of Dunbeath was commissioned by the Neil Gunn Society in 1991. It marks the centenary of the author’s birth and was designed by Alex Main (1940 – 2010).

Neil Gunn was one of the most important writers of Scottish fiction in the early twentieth century. His works explore Highland life, including the impact on communities of the Highland Clearances. He was awarded the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1937 for Highland River.

The monument depicts the climax of a dramatic scene from Highland River. Nine-year old Kenn is shown carrying home a huge salmon, poached with his bare hands from the Dunbeath river.

The book is largely written in a stream-of-consciousness style as we follow Kenn’s life through a series of dramatic episodes. These vary from his school life with a sadistic teacher to the trauma of World War One. Throughout, Kenn attempts to find peace in the natural world.

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Date: 1991
Materials : Bronze
Size : 160cm x 120cm

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