Made by sculptor Jake Harvey, it takes the form of a large open book and features cut-out shapes of images drawn from the poet's work: an eagle in full flight, trout, thistle, trees and ploughs. Set against the sky and the Eskdale Hills, it makes a connection between the land and its people.
Dumfries and Galloway has a history and heritage of such connections stretching back into the mists of time. This chunk of land informed all of MacDiarmid's work, as well as other great thinkers, such as Robert Burns and Thomas Carlyle. Visual artists too are drawn to its beauty. Evidence of this is to be found around every corner of the region, from Pictish symbols carved at Trusty's Hill Fort and cup- and ring-marked stones at High Banks near Kirkcudbright, to Henry Moore's modernist sculptures at Glenkiln. More recently, Andy Goldsworthy's Striding Arches provide reason aplenty to visit the area around Cairnhead.
The amount of art activity in the region has become one of its unique selling points in recent years. This has, in turn, led a group of motivated artists, curators and makers to set up the inaugural Environmental Art Festival Scotland (EAFS), which started yesterday and runs until Monday night.
According to co-curator Jan Hogarth there had been "a lot of discussion" in the last decade among the arts community in the area about how to come together as a cohesive group. The suggestion of mounting an arts festival celebrating the unique way in which artists relate to the land came from Creative Scotland.
"At the beginning of this year, Dumfries and Galloway Council asked for tenders from interested parties to run a festival," she explains. "The three groups delivering the EAFS are Wide Open, an arts production company which I am part of; The Stove, an artists' collective which operates from a building in the centre of Dumfries; and Spring Fling, which produces the annual open studios event in the region."
The festival is centred on four main commissions in four locations. All have been developed to reflect the 2013 festival theme of energy and the land. Each day sees special emphasis placed on one of the artworks, making it the focus for a host of other activities and events. These include talks, dance, performance, live music, a picnic and a ceilidh.
The four commissions are: Cinema Sark at Gretna, by artist/filmmaker John Wallace and soil scientist Professor Pete Smith; Fountain by Glasgow-based artist James Winnett at the Grey Mare's Tail waterfall in Galloway Forest Park; Gimme Shelter at Anwoth Old Kirk, by Dutch environmental artists Pat Van Boeckel and Karin Van Der Molen; and Glimpse, at Barony College, Dumfries, featuring work by Scottish artists Donald Urquhart and Will Levi Marshall.
The programme also includes a series of coastal commissions. These are sited in different places on the long and spectacular Dumfries and Galloway shores and cliffs, and include everything from costumed performance art to an opportunity to make a sea monster from rubbish washed up by the ocean.
Existing environmental art destinations and commissions in progress by artists such as Charles Jencks and Cecil Balmond (who have developed the headline-grabbing Star of Caledonia destined for a site at the border between England and Scotland) can also be visited. On Monday, Jencks's horticultural homage to the world's great thinkers, The Garden Of Cosmic Speculation, will open its doors especially for EAFS.
Artist duo Dalziel and Scullion, who have a long-standing association with the area, will be running a workshop tomorrow outside Gatehouse of Fleet linked to their Rosnes Bench project, a series of ergonomically designed benches which aim to reconnect people's senses to nature, helping them to slow down and take in the natural world around them.
In short, it is all happening - and more - in this small corner of Scotland. As Hugh MacDiarmid puts it in his poem, The Borders, "Nae better playgrund could ever ha'e wished."
Environmental Art Festival Scotland, selected sites throughout Dumfries & Galloway (www.environmental artfestivalscotland.com) until September 2