A chalk drawing created in the late 1980s seems to be an uncanny pictorial premonition of the events of 9/11.
With Sunday the 10th anniversary of the tragedy which happened in New York on September 11, 2001, staff at Grangemouth’s Community Education Unit, in Abbots Road, invited The Falkirk Herald to come and see the framed artwork hanging on the wall of their reception area.
It shows a sad-looking young girl in the centre flanked by two jet planes and a pair of twin towers. Tendrils of the girl’s hair look like flames and smoke billowing into the sky.
The drawing is simply signed “W Gardner, Centre Art Club” and undated. But there seems to be no doubt it was created over a decade before the terrible terror attacks occurred.
Unfortunately the one man who would be able to shed any light on the mystery - Willie Gardner - died on November 27 last year at the age of 78. We will never know what was on his mind when he was chalking the images all those years ago.
His daughter Aileen Currie (53) is a member of the Community Education Unit’s Physically Handicapped and Able Bodied (PHAB) Club. She had no knowledge of the drawing until it was hung in the unit’s reception area.
She said: “It was just one of his drawings - I don’t know exactly when he did it. I think it had been lying in the back office for years before they moved it into the reception area.
“I do know it was done years before the twin towers were destroyed. He was always interested in art and had been painting since he was young. He was a member of the art group in the education unit.”
Aileen has no explanation for the apparent prediction contained in her dad’s painting and said, while he had plenty of artistic talent, he had no ability to see into the future.
“He was interested in science fiction though,” she said.
Lex Cook was the education unit co-ordinator in the late 1980s.
He said: “It was maybe 1988 or 1989 that I first saw Willie’s drawing. The boss here at the time liked it and Willie kindly gave it to him for the centre.
“I think Willie did it when he was a member of the Centre Art Club and it was framed up in Larbert. I can remember at the time standing looking at it and trying to figure out what it was showing.
“It was quite eye-catching, but strange at the same time. I never even thought about it being linked to the Twin Towers attacks because I’ve been looking at it so long.
“Then you get someone with a fresh pair of eyes who sees it and asks if it is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.” Jody Cannon, unit manager, was told beforehand the drawing was created well before 9/11, but admitted he would have believed it was some kind of artistic memorial.
He said: “The guy who first showed it to me ruined it by telling me it was painted before 9/11. Now when I show it to someone new I don’t say anything and they usually say it must be some kind of tribute - when I tell them it was painted before it happened they don’t believe it.”
Jody said that he would allow the artwork to be put on show at exhibitions if people were interested in seeing it.