THE landscape artist and founder of the Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres, Charles Jencks, is to unveil a new 55-acre art work in the heart of rural Scotland this summer.


The Crawick Multiverse sits on the site of a former open cast coal mine near Sanquhar in Upper Nithsdale in Dumfries and Galloway.

Using stone, in the fashion of megalithic monuments, the landscape is inspired by themes of space, astronomy and the cosmos.

It has a network of paths connecting sculptures and land features which represent heavenly bodies such as the Sun, comets, black holes, galaxies and even other universes.

Materials on the artform were taken from the site, including its earth and 2000 large boulders.

The Sun amphitheatre can hold 5,000 spectators.

Work on the Crawick Multiverse is nearly finished, with a public launch event scheduled for June 21, the summer solstice.

Jencks has created several similar works including the landform at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, at Jupiter Artland outside Edinburgh, Northumberlandia at Cramlington in the north east of England, and Beijing Olympic Park's Black Hole Terrace.

His other works include the Garden of Cosmic Speculation, at Portrack House near Dumfries.

Jencks said: "This former open cast coal site, nestled in a bowl of large rolling hills, never did produce enough black gold to keep digging.

"But it did, accidentally, create the bones of a marvellous ecology.

"The landscape had to be healed, it had to welcome the nearby communities of Sanquhar, Kelloholm and Kirkconnel, and help restore the locality both economically and ecologically - and so the Crawick Multiverse, a new version of an old scientific idea, was born.

"This work of land art, created primarily from earth and boulders on the site, celebrates the surrounding Scottish countryside and its landmarks, looking outwards and back in time."

The site is managed by the Crawick Artland Trust which includes trustees from the local communities surrounding the site.

Duncan Mackison, director of Crawick Artland Trust, said: "We are very excited to see this ambitious, large scale project nearing completion and are confident it will prove to be a huge draw for visitors from both home and abroad.

"This fantastic artland will appeal to a diverse range of visitors, including art and design enthusiasts, families looking for a day out with a difference, schools who want an 'outdoor classroom' and local groups and organisations."

The first Maggie's Centre opened in Edinburgh in 1996.

It was founded by and named after Jencks's late wife, Maggie Keswick Jencks, who died of cancer in 1995.

Jencks recently spoke of his dismay that plans for another major new public artwork have been snubbed by Scotland's arts funding body.

The Star of Caledonia, which its planners hope to build beside the motorway at Gretna, is designed by Cecil Balmond and Jencks.

The £5 million Star project, which was estimated to bring £300,000 to the border region if built, was denied a crucial £1m funding package from Creative Scotland.

The Multiverse is costing £1m to build and is being funded by the Duke of Buccleuch.