The Silence of Growing Things
This upcoming exhibition at Artcore Gallery in Derby will feature the works of Freya Gabie and Arjuna Keshvani-Ham. Both artists have been selected for Artcore’s international residency program, “The Silence of Growing Things,” scheduled to take place in Bengaluru, India, in January 2024. The exhibition promises an engaging exploration of contemporary art within the realms of post-colonialism, botanical history, ecology, environment, and landscapes.
Freya Gabie’s focus will be on the historic botanical gardens of Lalbagh and Cubbon Park, examining the concepts of resilience and healing. With a keen interest in the Ayurvedic medicinal usage of plants, she aims to delve into the symbiotic relationship between plants and communities in Bangalore. Given that up to 50% of modern medicine is plant-derived and biodiversity is increasingly threatened by climate change and habitat loss, Gabie’s work seeks to underscore our interconnectedness with the natural world. Her exploration will delve into the impact of imperialism, capitalism, and migration on this relationship over the years. Moreover, she will look to the ecosystem of the gardens as a source of inspiration for fostering care, resilience, and restoration.
Arjuna will further delve into her ongoing exploration of India’s colonial history, aiming to unveil the implicit connections between the city’s ecology, its industrial complex, and its colonial past. She is intrigued by the lasting conceptual and ecological impacts of land development during the colonial era in Bangalore. Her objective is to scrutinise how choices in landscape architecture have moulded the city’s spaces, symbols, and social dynamics.
Arjuna expresses anticipation for traversing Bangalore’s gardens, historically operating as “satellites” to botanical gardens in the UK. These gardens served as systematic research centres for advancements in the highly extractive industry of economic botany—an experimental field that, for many years, played a crucial role in the European colonial project. Concurrently, she is particularly enthusiastic about engaging with local voices, aiming to uncover the more intimate relationship between people and their environment.
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