Art and nature collide in Dumfries & Galloway

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The landscape of Dumfries & Galloway has long been a source of creativity. Ancient rock markings left by the region’s earliest inhabitants, Henry Moore’s modernist sculptures at the Glenkiln Sculpture Park, Andy Goldsworthy’s iconic red sandstone Striding Arches which overlook the valley of Cairnhead, these are just some of the monuments in the region that demonstrate the unique bond between people and their natural environment. It can even count some of Scotland’s greatest thinkers, including Robert Burns, Hugh MacDiarmid and Thomas Carlyle, amongst those who have found inspiration in its unspoiled natural beauty, from its sandy beaches to rolling hills and emerald forests.

The Striding Arches on Bail Hill

The Striding Arches on Bail Hill

In recognition of the region’s special artistic heritage, the inaugural Environmental Art Festival Scotland will take place over four days from 30 August – 2 September. Discover the connections artists have made with the landscape, past and present, at locations spread throughout the region. View stunning temporary public art installations in a diverse range of settings including Galloway Forest Park, its Dark Sky Park, a beach on the Solway coast, and even a ruined 16th century kirk which appeared in The Wickerman. See an amazing optical illusion created using 200 trees, a fountain powered by the natural energy of the river Sark, and a sculpture of giant sea monster built from driftwood and other refuse found washed ashore on Red Haven beach.

The Solway Sea Monster by Alice Francis © Kim Ayres

The Solway Sea Monster by Alice Francis © Kim Ayres

Why not take the opportunity to visit some of the region’s permanent public artworks? The Garden of Cosmic Speculation is a 30-acre sculpture garden in Portrack House near Dumfries, the home of its designer the renowned landscape architect and theorist Charles Jencks. Taking inspiration from mathematical formulae and scientific phenomena, the garden is a uniquely abstract fusion of naturally occuring terrain and artifical symmetry and curves. Although private, the garden will open its doors to the public as part of the festival on 2 September. You can also take a trip to see Andy Goldsworthy’s Millennium Cairn at Penpont and the region’s memorial to Hugh MacDiarmid, a giant illustrated metal book that sits high on a moor above Langholm.

Enjoy an array of activities and events during the festival including talks, dance and theatre performances, film screenings, live music, a picnic and a ceilidh, and much more.Take a look at the festival’s programme to find out more about the various commissions, exhibitions and performances, and make bookings. Learn about Dumfries & Galloway’s flourishing arts and culture scene, other fantastic events taking place in the region, and great accommodation.

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Sarah Clark

Media Editor
Sarah originally hails from West Lothian. When not extolling the virtues of Scotland, she enjoys discovering new places, watching classic movies, and getting lost in a good book.