The Growing Gallery, 2022
This is a touching space
Crunch the dried flowers as you pass by
Pot a plant, sift the soil, feel the flowers and smell the blooms
Rub the mint leaves between your fingers, feel the scent rise up and over you
Take a seat, put on the red hat
Gobble up a free sample
The Growing Gallery was a multisensory artwork inspired by the People’s Park in John Coyle’s painting. The installation was exhibited as part of 'A Collection of Conversations', a dementia inclusive exhibition' in dlr Lexicon, Dún Laoghaire from June 16 to August 31 2022.
The Growing Gallery was funded by Creative Ireland's Creativity in Older Age Programme 2022.
Throughout June 2022, participants, carers, and family members were invited into The Growing Gallery. Cuttings of the Catmint plant were taken before each session, with permission, from the People's Park in Dún Laoghaire. They eco-printed Catmint flowers onto the hanging material. This involved pressing flowers into fabric with a hammer until the bright green and purple pigment was released.
Participants propagated plants from small cuttings taken from larger plants. These cuttings sat in the window of the Gallery and grew for the duration of the installation. The Growing Gallery was filled with dried cuttings collected over 6 weeks from the Park. Free samples of custom made chocolates were available. These samples contained bee pollen and cinnamon, melting the Summer and Winter elements of the painting and the installation together.
When viewing John Coyle’s painting, one of the participants, Helen was struck by how The Growing Gallery, filled with purple flowers, and the woman with the red hat sitting on the bench reminded her of a poem. Helen narrated this poem 'Warning', by Jenny Joseph and this was available to hear as part of the installation. The Growing Gallery invited visitors to explore John Coyle’s Painting through touch, smell, taste and sound.
Image credits Tim Durham
Video was recorded & produced by Paul-Michel Ledoux
Copyright © Jenny Joseph, SELECTED POEMS, Bloodaxe 1992. The audio recording of this poem was reproduced with permission of Johnson & Alcock Ltd.