Groundworks is a project commissioned for Grasslands;
a project in four rural villages in Northern Denmark.
Curated by Lene Noer and Birgitte Kristen for Aarhus 2017 European Capital of Culture.
Panoramic image of the village in January 2017 Photograph Deirdre O'Mahony
Drawing on methods evolved through public art projects in rural Ireland, Deirdre O'Mahony began Groundworks in January 2017 in the former community centre in the village of Aasted Northern Denmark. An inland village, it is surrounded by fields of cereal grown on an industrial scale for the pig industry, also located in the area. Many of the residents are getting older and would like to be able to move to live near families in cities and town. As services decline and increasing numbers of young people move away for jobs, homes have lost equity, and become difficult to sell.
Collated images from the 1980s to 2000s. Photograph Deirdre O'Mahony
In order to open up a public conversation on what might be achieved through the Groundworks a series of workshops were held in January 2017 on collating and using local archives. A collection of local newspaper cuttings became a useful resource through which to examine issues facing the village in its struggle to remain a living, self-sustaining community.
Selecting the archive. Photograph courtesy of Grasslands, 2017.
The collated history was re-presented on the walls of the hall alongside large scale drawings made by the artist and a participant. All residents were invited to a meal to introduce the project and review the archive. Many were taken by the simple process of using overhead projectors to make large scale images and requested that on the next visit, workshops be given.
Magrid Tved working on a projected image of protests at the closure of an ancient road to the sea. Photograph courtesy of Grasslands, 2017.
A village meal was held at the end of the week-long process and an invitation issued to all. Every seat was filled and the event prompted a call for more workshops in April.
Dinner of Irish Stew in the village hall January 2017. Photograph courtesy of Grasslands, 2017.
A presentation by Deirdre during the dinner. Photograph courtesy of Grasslands, 2017.
Illness prevented O'Mahony from traveling in April and workshops were cancelled, however, artist/curator Lene Noer continued with planned walks and meetings about the landscape and future and ideas and mock-ups for the murals.
Example of superimposed image on a gable wall. Photograph Deirdre O'Mahony
In June, the final phase will see participants taking part in further workshops on making murals, drawing from the collated cuttings and images. A final selection will be made and used for the murals; a public statement about how participants see their place, their history and their future.