Environmental Art Festival Scotland Celebrates a Co-operative Vision

International Public Art gathering at Morton Castle welcomes 1000 visitors from all over the world

THE second Environmental Art Festival Scotland welcomed 1,000 visitors for a celebration of landscape, culture and community against the dramatic backdrop of Morton Castle near Thornhill
Visitors came from all across Scotland, the rest of the UK and overseas to attend EAFS Off Grid – the festival attracted people from all walks of life with a common interest in the land we all share.
People involved in EAFS included farmers, landowners, local residents, scientists, environmental organisations, field sports enthusiasts and professionals, horse riders, map specialists, poets, musicians, cooks and food producers, geologists, academics and artists.
This temporary community lived, ate and talked together for a weekend in the EAFS ‘village’ around the castle and their conversations were inspired and shaped by the arts installations and happenings that over 60 contributing artists presented at the festival.
All the installations and activities contributed to the overall themes of hospitality, journeys, generosity and inventiveness.
Matt Baker, locally-based artist and co-curator of EAFS, said: “This was a weekend where there was a real sense of coming together of a people in a spirit of positivity and openness to conceiving of a different future – a creative and co-operative vision.”
Scottish minister of the Environment, Land Reform and Climate Change, Aileen McLeod MSP opened the event on Saturday and declared that grassroots events like EAFS were crucial to the vital work of changing attitudes around Climate Change.
Aileen McLeod was introduced to Welsh artist Craftedspace who brought their Urchin project to EAFS.
Jenny Hall of Craftedspace later said: “The EAFS experience was unlike any festival I have ever been to before. It was shaped by the stunning beauty of the land itself.
“I was moved by everything that EAFS enabled. It was an incredible and unique weekend. I look forward to seeing how it ripples outwards from Dumfries and Galloway and Scotland into the UK and beyond.”
EAFS puts the emphasis on taking part rather than being a passive observer, and creating a temporary community which celebrates generosity.
Eminent Scottish artist and poet, Alec Finlay collaborated with geographer and map expert Professor David Munro and Eco poet David Borthwick from Annandale for a moving performance called a “Conspectus”. This explored origins and sounds of place names and their location within the landscape.
There was a 100ft River of Fire Barbeque, created by Jools Cox from Castle Douglas, cooked fish caught in local rivers and other regional produce. A bread oven baked loaves made from corn milled on the spot.
Another key aspect of EAFS Off Grid was the five fireside conversations initiated by artists, scientists, visionaries and people who work with the land. These let people talk about subjects of every kind, such as how people need to adapt to create a more positive future.
The event’s main base was near the castle under the light of a supermoon – when the full moon looks especially large because it is at the closest point of its orbit round the earth.

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