Artist’s Olympic project kicks off

Artist Craig Coulthard on site at his forest football pitch which is under construction near Selkirk.
Artist Craig Coulthard on site at his forest football pitch which is under construction near Selkirk.

WORK has kicked off on a football-themed Olympic project by a north east Fife artist.

Back in 2009, former Madras College pupil Craig Coulthard (30) beat off stiff competition to win a £460,000 commission as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Now construction of his ‘Forest Pitch’ piece — which will see a football ground installed within woodland near Selkirk — is well under way.

ENTERTAINMENT

On July 21 two amateur football matches — one men’s game and one women’s game — will be played on the pitch, with a range of performances by local groups adding to the entertainment.

Players will be recent British citizens or those with indefinite leave to remain who are currently living in Scotland.

Spectators will include residents of neighbouring communities and pupils from local schools, as well as members of the general public.

Trees felled to make space for the ground are being used to create the goalposts, a shelter and other infrastructure, while the pitch is being made using topsoil donated by Gala Fairydean FC.

After the matches the site will be taken over by nature and is to be accessible to the public for up to 60 years.

INSPIRATION

Funded by National Lottery cash, the piece is intended to explore issues of national identity, community, landscape and memory.

Talking about the inspiration behind ‘Forest Pitch’, Craig — who grew up in Balmullo — said: “It came from when I was a kid and I used to play football in a forest in Germany, where I was born.

“I’ve also played at Third Lanark’s old ground in Glasgow, Cathkin Park, which was overgrown, with trees sprouting around the old terraces.

“A lot of my work has been about undiscovered places, and I like the idea of looking down on a plane journey and seeing a hidden football pitch.”