For me, Dundee will be forever associated with Oor Wullie and The Beano, but these days its no longer just the city of "jute, jam and journalism".
In fact, in 2014, the wee city on the Tay was recognised by the United Nations (no less) as the UK's first UNESCO City of Design, recognising its diverse contributions to medical research, comic book art and video games, amongst other things.
If that weren’t cool enough, GQ magazine named Dundee the 'Coolest Little City In Britain' in 2015 and The Wall Street Journal has recently ranked it number 5 on its 'Worldwide Hot Destinations' list for 2018.
As a Scottish artist, this literally gives me goosebumps. I mean, wow! This is Scotland’s biggest and most significant cultural and artistic undertaking in a generation and is predicted to be a huge catalyst for social and economic growth both in Dundee and Scotland-wide.
Designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the building is inspired by 'the vibrations, movements and textures of nature', and is part of a £1 billion redevelopment of the whole waterfront area in Dundee.
Dundee has a long association with our black and white feathered friends; the emblem of Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton’s 1901 expedition to the South Pole. Their Dundee-built ship, the RRS Discovery was the last traditional, wood-built, 3 masted ship to be built in the UK, and is now the V&A Dundee's Tay-side neighbour.
But visit Dundee right now and you'll find its been invaded by a colourful colony of giant penguin statues! Like the fantastic Oor Wullie Bucket Trail last year, the Maggie's Penguin Parade is a bold collaboration with sponsors, artists, schools and the community to raise funds for Maggie's Dundee, who support people with cancer and their families and friends.
As a devoted fan of CRM and a graduate of the GSA, it doesn't get much better than this!
Mackintosh's fabulous Oak Room was part of Miss Cranston's Ingram St Tearooms; salvaged in the 70's, it has been painstakingly reconstructed as part of the V&A Dundee's permanent collection.
This restoration feels like a beautifully fitting tribute in this, the 150th anniversary of the great man's birth. And a beacon of hope for Mackintosh fans everywhere in the wake of the devastating fire at Glasgow Schol of Art earlier in the year. And it's not the only good news on the CRM front this season; the iconic Willow Tea Rooms on Glasgow's Sauchiehall St were also officially reopened by Charles and Camilla last week after a 4 year, £10 million renovation.
If you're also a fan of all things Mackintosh, check out my Illustrated Story celebrating 150 years of Charles Rennie Mack.
Gillian Kyle, Dundee, V&A, V&A Dundee, Scottish museums, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Scottish architecture; Scottish artist, Scottish gifts, Scottish icons, modern Scotland, Scottish mugs, Scottish Tea towels, Scottish penguins,