Orkney and the Energy Within by Monica Popham, 2023

2023 in Guildford
Orkney and the Energy Within by Monica Popham, 2023 (Painting)

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'Orkney and the Energy Within', by Monica Popham, Guildford, 2023

'Orkney and the Energy Within' was commissioned by Sky Arts as part of Landscape Artist of the Year 2024. The Science Museum Group invited competition-winning artist, Monica Popham, to paint a work that ‘captures the story of Orkney’s central role in the UK’s transition to low-carbon, renewable energy.’

In August 2023, Popham travelled to Orkney and was struck by the view from Hammars Hill Wind farm, looking out towards the small island of Eynhallow. She photographed the wind farm and, back in her studio, stitched several photographs together to create a panoramic landscape. From this image, she then made sketches and digital drawings to refine the composition. Popham’s final work presents a bucolic landscape: a patchwork of green and golden fields, scattered with houses and wind turbines which also frame the view. Is the optimism of the scene tempered by the dark clouds, perhaps hinting at a less straightforward energy transition?

Popham says: ‘I selected this location for its ability to encapsulate the magnificence and remoteness of Orkney's landscape, while showcasing how the natural elements are employed for producing low-carbon, renewable energy. While the painting seemingly emphasises the wind element of renewable energies, it also captures Eynhallow, a small island renowned for its turbulent tides. This is due to its position between the Orkney mainland and the island of Rousey, and it is also situated amongst the meeting point of the Atlantic and North Sea. I felt the juxtaposition between imposing technological structures and Orkney's wild landscape was unmistakable and that it was important to reflect this in the commission.’


Object Number:
acrylic paint
overall: 700 mm x 1500 mm
Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year