Calls for exhibition recognising Billy Connolly to be held in Glasgow

'Few people have promoted the city as well as he as' the Glasgow Labour group leader said.

Calls for exhibition recognising Billy Connolly to be held in Glasgow at Kelvingrove art gallery Getty Images

A Billy Connolly exhibition should be held at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to recognise his contribution to Glasgow.

Councillor George Redmond, the city’s Labour group leader, wants Glasgow Life — which runs the city’s museums on behalf of the council — to consider a display on the Big Yin.

The Glasgow Labour leader, who raised his proposal at a meeting of the city’s administration committee last week, said there are “few people who have promoted the city as well as he has”.

He suggested future exhibitions could focus on other famous Glaswegians such as Alex Ferguson or Kenny Dalglish.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow Life said the arms-length organisation has previously worked on projects with Billy Connolly, but is “always keen to hear what people would like to see more of”.

She added the city’s collection includes “popular and much-loved Billy Connolly related objects” such as “his iconic banana boots and John Byrne’s popular portrait at the People’s Palace”.

At the council meeting, Cllr Redmond said he would “really like to see an exhibition about Billy Connolly at some point, and it should be in Kelvingrove given his Partick roots”.

Following the meeting, the Labour group leader said: “Billy Connolly is not just a Glasgow icon, he’s a Scottish icon. He has been a fantastic ambassador for Glasgow, for Scotland, in everything that he does.

“One of the things that is so important to him is his upbringing in Glasgow. I think having an exhibition about Billy Connolly would be absolutely fantastic for Glasgow and probably the whole of Scotland.

“He’s given us so much, I don’t think it’s a lot to ask to give him something back in return.”

The Glasgow Life spokeswoman said: “Billy Connolly needs no introduction to the people of Glasgow. His boundless talent as a comedian, actor and presenter makes him one of Scotland’s most famous sons.”

She said, in 2015, Glasgow Life worked with him to display “his own extraordinary works at the People’s Palace” and, in 2017, worked with the BBC to show artists John Byrne, Jack Vettriano and Rachel Maclean’s portraits of the comedian, which were turned into large artworks around the city.

“Glasgow Life Museums welcome more than three million visitors each year, many of these come to enjoy the engaging and intriguing exhibitions on offer. We are always keen to hear what people would like to see more of and to develop new and innovative ways of making this accessible. 

“All suggestions are considered at regular content development meetings, which plan several years in advance.”

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