Visual artist Gary Dawes has created a series of works entitled LOOKER, Watchers of the Forest, which aims to raise awareness to the threats faced by trees, woodlands and forests around the world, and is the first exhibition of its kind to be displayed on the Major Oak trail at the reserve.
LOOKER is part of a land-art project ‘Outsider’ which Gary started in 2017, with the idea of exhibiting his photographs out in a natural setting, and away from traditional indoor gallery spaces.
Gary, who is self-taught, explained: “Forests stir the primordial imagination and serve as a setting in countless myth and folklore tales. Arboreal forms, colours and textures have a beauty in their own right. I feel a deep affinity with the natural world, and that is something I try to express in my work. That said, I have no interest in political statements, visual or otherwise. Art and nature transcend politics for me.”
The latest rogues' gallery of criminals jailed in Nottinghamshire
Starbucks opens new cafe in Worksop Sainsbury’s
Police probe suspected arson attack at Bassetlaw industrial site.
Which bus services are cancelled in Worksop on Thursday August 11? Services cancelled due to shortage of Stagecoach drivers
Column: Let’s all unlock the power of Mother Nature to help our wellbeing
Having relocated to Nottinghamshire almost a decade ago, Gary also hopes his exhibition will pave the way for other creatives across the region, explaining: “By fusing together art and nature here in Sherwood Forest, I hope to open up more opportunities which may help other independent artists like myself because I know how hard it can be to find spaces to get your work exhibited and seen by new audiences.”
Jess Dumoulin, Visitor Experience Manager at Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve, said: “Much of our conservation work at Sherwood is dedicated to the protection of our magnificent ancient oak trees which have survived here for hundreds of years. They really have seen many things during those centuries, so Gary’s work provides a thought-provoking perspective, turning the tables on us as viewers or admirers of the trees to highlight a very topical issue for the natural world.”
Sherwood Forest is famously associated with the legend of Robin Hood, welcoming around 350,000 visitors per year. It is home to one of Europe’s largest collections of ancient oak trees, with almost 1,000 across the wider Sherwood landscape area, many aged over 500 years old, including the iconic Major Oak.
Gary’s LOOKER exhibition can be seen until November.