Ormaig film rocks at royal art show

Artist Gabi Stuckemeier with her Ormaig landart in the background. Photo by Dr Aaron Watson.

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A film about a landart project at prehistoric Ormaig near Kilmartin has won a top award at a Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) art show.

Artist Gabi Stuckemeier who painted more than 300 tree stumps on a hillside to create a large circle in keeping with rockart on the site from more than 4,000 years ago, said she was delighted to win The Highland Society of London Award in the 195th Royal Scottish Academy Annual Exhibition.

The film can be viewed online as part of this year’s virtual exhibition running until May 31 at https://www.rsaannualexhibition.org/

Artist Gabi Stuckemeier with Ormaig landart behind her. Photograph: Dr Aaron Watson.

Gabi, who was helped by friends last year to mix eco-friendly lime wash and carry buckets of it up steep slopes during a heatwave to paint the stumps, hopes the award will put her artwork in the spotlight and attract even more people, once Covid allows, to visit prehistoric Kilmartin, giving the attraction the attention it deserves.

When the sun shines on it, it looks white but the lime wash was tinged with a hint of pink. Gabi plans to return to the site soon to give it another coat ready for the visitors she hopes will head its way now that Covid restrictions are relaxing.

‘I hope people will come now that they are able to move more. It missed a season because of Covid, so I will give it another coat of lime wash so it has another season before it starts to fade back into the landscape. It is just a brief greeting through time,  unlike the rock art that will remain there for thousands more years,’ said Gabi.

Her work was selected from entries matching the criteria of best work in any discipline by a Highland artist.

Gabi, who also works as an occupational therapist at Oban’s Lorn and The Isles Hospital, said: ‘I am very grateful to have been chosen. It is an acknowledgement for me. It came as a kind of belated surprise. Hopefully this will help bring the project and the fabulous prehistoric sites around Kilmartin to a wider public.’

The RSA Annual Exhibition is the most extensive exhibition of contemporary art and architecture in Scotland. This year it attracted a record open submission of works from which final exhibits were selected. ‘This was a difficult undertaking as the standard and variety of entries were particularly high,’ said President of The Royal Scottish Academy Dr Joyce W Cairns.

The Ormaig Landart project measures 150m x 150m and can be reached along a path from beyond Carnasserie Castle off the B816 towards Lochgilphead.

As people approach the landart from the side with its stumps painted to look like dots from a distance, it first looks oval-shaped before becoming a gigantic circle.

Funding for the project came from Creative Scotland via the National Lottery. There was also support from Kilmartin Museum and Forestry and Land Scotland, which owns the land where the trees were already felled.

As for Gabi’s next masterpiece, she said: ‘I’ve been sketching and thinking about what could possibly follow such a big project as the one at Ormaig. I’ve got some ideas but I wouldn’t know where to put them yet. They need space. I’m looking out for the right spots.’

To find out more about the Ormaig Landart Project 2020 and Gabi’s other work visit www.gabrielestuckemeier.com

Caption: Artist Gabi Stuckemeier with her Ormaig landart in the background. Photograph: Dr Aaron Watson. NO_T44-GabiOrmaig.jpg