Nature celebrated as artists take up residence

Masao: combines traditional crafts with latest digital technology
Masao: combines traditional crafts with latest digital technology
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A JAPANESE sculptor who works with bamboo has been selected as the inaugural International Artist in Residence who will celebrate the life, work and legacy of the great Scottish writer, explorer and naturalist John Muir.

Ueno Masao who combines the latest digital technology with traditional craft techniques, will undertake his residency in Dumfries and Galloway from August where he will develop new artworks and deliver masterclasses.

Combining bamboo with dyes, lacquers, gold leaf and powder, Masao has previously exhibited in some of the world’s great galleries.

The John Muir residency is one of a series of artists’ residencies exploring the richness of Scotland’s natural environment that has been announced today as part of the Year of Natural Scotland 2013. The programme aims to inspire the best creative minds in the worlds of arts and science to share their knowledge and to deepen understanding of Scotland’s extraordinary natural assets.

Iain Munro, the acting chief executive officer of Creative Scotland, said: “These residencies present a unique opportunity for artists to offer fresh interpretation and understanding of some of Scotland’s finest landscapes whilst developing their practice and encouraging local communities to connect in new and interesting ways with their environment.”

“The residency with Ueno Masao highlights the international significance of Scotland’s unique environment and our commitment to linking with high-calibre artists world-wide”.

Residencies will also take place through Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. Forestry Commission Scotland will invite artists to undertake a residency working with the local communities of Rutherglen and Farme Cross to engage them in the Cuningar Loop project that will see a riverside woodland park emerge from the heart of the East End of Glasgow. Known as Cuningar Loop, the park is set to open after Glasgow 2014 and will be a significant Legacy 2014 project.

Caroline Read, Scottish Natural Heritage’s landscape officer, said: “In this Year of Natural Scotland, we hope these artists will bring a fresh perspective to people’s interpretation and understanding of Scotland’s most stunning landscapes and special places.”

Tom Wallace, project manager, Forestry Commission, said: “We’re very excited about the Artists Residency coming to Cuningar Loop. This is exactly the type of project we’re keen to attract for communities, encouraging them to get involved and be inspired by a range of activities on their doorstep.”

Masao graduated from the Shibaura Institute of Technology with a degree in architecture. Since the 1980s, he has exhibited worldwide, installing outdoor pieces at the Grizedale Sculpture Park in England and the University of Zurich’s museum park.