Groundworks was 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.

1. Panorama Aasted

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. 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 leading to further workshops on making murals, drawing from the collated cuttings and images. A final selection was made and murals now cover much of the village painted by participants; a statement on how they see their place, their history and their future. 

Dinner of Irish Stew in the village hall January 2017. Photograph courtesy of Grasslands, 2017.

Projected photograph painted as a village mural

Painting the murals: Artist Leo Sagastuy Solis, supported the group as their paintings became increasingly ambitious in scale and complexity.

Mural Asted Village the Messerschmit car

The first mural was made on the outside of the old furniture factory in the centre of Åsted, painted from a 1982 newspaper photograph of Frilev Sieg in his Messerschmidt car. Frilev came to see the work being made, returning for a celebration to mark the first mural the next day.

Bo Futterup in front of his portrait painted on the side of his garage, from a newspaper cutting about the construction of a playground in Asted.


More on the Grasslands Website HERE