The Sunken Garden is the focal point of this year’s Margate NOW, an annual festival producing arts and culture for communities across Margate. This year is more important than ever to promote community action through our event as we bring people out from isolation. The sculptures will act as an invitation for our community to reflect and meditate on the past year. Nature-inspired, whimsical and fantastical, the artworks will help make our miniature Eden an even more enjoyable place to meet, meditate, socialise and play. We are working with outstanding artists - Nicolas Deshayes, Lindsey Mendick and Olu Ogunnaike - to design and create a gate for the Hermit’s Cave, a compost bin and a bench. So as well as being functional, the designs will grow out of our aspiration to bring people together again - combatting loneliness and celebrating the mental health benefits of time outside in nature.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
The Sunken Garden Society was formed to bring love and life back to the Sunken Garden, which had become abandoned and overgrown. The group of dedicated volunteers has been restoring this free outdoor space to make it more beautiful and welcoming not just to visitors, but also to bumblebees and wildlife. We're keen to welcome and train more volunteers as part of this sculpture garden project. This collaboration between two local organisations dedicated to nurturing creativity and nature provides a unique opportunity for the garden to be better equipped, to integrate art into its ecosystem and create new forms of interaction with visitors and users of the Garden. It further offers the artists a rare opportunity to bring function into their work and a unique permanent public setting for it to exist in. Key to the project is the creation of a sustainable and considerate dialogue between art and nature, and the continued provision of a welcoming and soothing refuge for everyone.
Steps to get it done:
PHOTOGRAPHY by Heather Tait " Margate NOW and Sunken Garden Society teams at the Sunken Garden" Information about the individual commissions: Dover-based artist Nicolas Deshayes will create an ornamental gate for the Hermit’s cave, inspired by organic motifs and cast in iron. Playful and gut-like, the gate will protect the mysterious Hermit's Cave, while serving as storage for the garden. Margate-based artist Lindsey Mendick will make a fantastical compost bin, which cannot contain what is happening within itself. All the juicy parts of decomposition, the parts that we are so desperate to hide as they remind us of our own demise, are on show. London-based artist Olu Ogunnaike will create a bench made of all the species of wood native to Kent. Their names and place of origin will be etched onto the metal frame. Significantly, the Sunken Garden is one of the rare places on the Margate coastline where trees are found.
About the space
Sunken Garden, Royal Esplanade, Westbrook, Margate CT9 5EJ
Thanet District Council
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