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Arkaig Community Forest is a new and unique venue for contemporary art in Lochaber.
This remote woodland, recently bought by the community and supported by Woodland Trust Scotland, stretches along the Loch Arkaig shoreline.
Ten artists have been commissioned to create work for this special place, a woodland which is steeped in historical importance and vital biodiversity with ancient pine and oak woods.
The project started in March this year with the ‘work in progress’ pop-up gallery at Achancarry Village Hall featuring work from the 10 artists giving members of the community the chance to visit and explore the themes the artists are working with.
A wide range of artworks are on display from life size stick sculptures of animals connected to the area by sculptor Harvey Mayson to life-like ‘tree people’ created by environmental artist Vicki Fleck using the measurements of local people as a starting point.
The pop-up gallery had an interactive element to the day with Stravaig Theatre creating an audio guide for the forest recording local stories and historical vignettes and artist Richard Bracken providing hand’s on printmaking.
Local artist Ali Berardelli and Ms Fleck hosted a word-based workshop to help create clues for the treasure hunt being designed for the forest based on the legend of the lost Arkaig treasure from 1745.
A walk in the afternoon into the forest revealed some of the site specific works already installed. These include a giant ‘Charcoal Clamp’ sculpture by Richard Bracken on an ancient charcoal platform, where charcoal would have been made before being shipped to foundries in Loch Awe hundreds of years ago.
An interactive sculpture by Clara Elliot leads visitors off the main woodland track deeper into the forest in a series of steps.
Henry Dobson, Woodland Trust site manager for Arkaig Community Forest who is managing the project, explained: ‘An important element of this project is collaboration between the commissioned artists and the community.
‘It has been exciting to present some of the finished pieces at the pop-up gallery and allow some experiences for the local and wider community in the making process of the artworks.
‘We hope many more visitors will come to see the completed site specific artworks once they are installed later in the year.’
Donald Cameron of Lochiel, centre, visits the Pop-up Gallery at Achnacarry Village Hall with artists Richard Bracken and Ali Berardelli, Henry Dobson, site manager with Woodland Trust and participants who took part in the workshops. NO-F23-Arkaig-Community-Forest-Pop-up-Gallery-1-
Laila Sutherland, Laura Kingswood Smith and Sarah Bracken use printing presses to explore the concept of treasure using the Gaelic word ‘Ulaidh’. This artwork is by artist Ali Berardelli. NO F23 Arkaig Community Forest Pop-up Gallery 2
Arkaig Community Forest Pop-up Gallery 3 – Evie Austin meets the sculpture titled ‘Evie’ by artist Vicki Fleck.
NO F23 Arkaig Community Forest Pop-up Gallery 3