Rain delays kick-off on Craig’s forest pitch

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.

A NORTH east Fife artist will have to wait for his moment of glory after one of the centrepieces of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad was postponed owing to the recent poor weather.

Craig Coulthard’s Forest Pitch event was due to take place on Saturday, July 21 with two football matches being played within woodland in the Scottish Borders.

But standing water and muddy conditions has seen kick-off postponed until Saturday, August 25.

Former Madras College pupil Craig (31) beat off stiff competition for the £460,000 commission as part of the cultural spin-off to the Olympic Games.

Two amateur football matches — one men’s game and one women’s game — will be played on the pitch, with teams comprising recent British citizens or people with indefinite leave to remain who are currently living in Scotland.

One of the players taking the field at the specially created football ground will be Kilrenny-based architect Fermin Beltran (34), who hails from South America originally.

Fermin said: “I liked the idea of using football as a platform for art and a way to bring together an international and diverse group of people.

“It also appealed to me because of my interest in ecological issues.

“I’ve never played on a pitch in a forest, so that also makes it an exciting thing to do.”

One of the four football kits to be used in the matches was designed by Letham Primary School pupil Anah Dodds.

Anah was selected as a winner from 2000 children across Scotland who took part in the competition.

Her colourful creation was officially unveiled and presented to her at Hampden Park last week.

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

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

Meanwhile, Craig has also been chosen to create a new public artwork in Edinburgh.

He has designed a billboard poster in the centre of Scotland’s capital for the private Ingleby Gallery.

Craig, who grew up in Balmullo, will have his work seen by thousands of commuters and visitors each day as they pass the billboard, which sits high above Calton Road opposite Waverley Station.

The design, which is being kept under wraps, will be unveiled towards the end of this month and is to remain in place for 12 weeks.

It will coincide with an exhibition at the gallery by one of his major influences, Ian Hamilton Finlay.

Craig said: “The billboard project is a superb way for artists to engage with the public, which is something I am trying to do through Forest Pitch.”