Why were the trees in the Omagh forest painted in different colors (4 photos)

28 May 2024

The Forest of Oma is a unique creation of a Basque sculptor and artist. The forest is located in the Oma Valley, in the forest near Cortezubi, in the Urdaibai nature reserve.

Painted Forest

Created in the early 1980s, this outdoor art installation consists of a large group of trees painted to resemble totems. If you look at them from different angles, you can see images of geometric shapes, anthropomorphic creatures or animals. The main idea is to create a space to contemplate the connection between man and nature.

This original artistic work was completed between 1982 and 1985, when Basque artist Agustin Ibarrola created a total of 47 images using tree trunks as canvases. On them he painted animals, geometry and people or partial images of them, such as eyes and lips.

Many of his compositions cannot be properly appreciated by looking at a single tree, but they make sense when viewed from an overall perspective that includes the trunks located at the periphery. To see the whole scene at its best, it is important to pay attention to the signs on the ground that show visitors where they should stand.

A unique forest and its creator

To explore Omagh Forest is to immerse yourself in an artistic movement that not everyone is familiar with. As with many contemporary art movements, this means abandoning traditional formats: in this case, canvases or boards. Moreover, in this forest you can absorb the creative genius of the artist in the fresh air during a pleasant walk, and not within the walls of a museum.

This work of art, which requires an active approach on the part of the viewer to be fully appreciated, offers the opportunity to enjoy a unique natural environment: the Omagh Valley.

The creator of this unique work, which combines nature and painting, is Agustin Ibarrola, who began as a self-taught artist. The artist later studied with Daniel Vázquez Díaz, who had a great influence on his subsequent career. If Vázquez Díaz introduced him to Cubism, it was the Basque sculptor Jorge Oteiza who introduced him to the Constructivist movement. The artist focuses on creating panoramas and universes that encourage the viewer to appreciate art from within and become fully immersed in it. This desire is very clearly expressed in the forest of Omagh.

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