Gayle Chong Kwan – Microclimate
23rd July - 5th November 2017
Normanby Hall and Gardens, Scunthorpe, UK
Inspired by the walled garden at Normanby Hall and Gardens ‘Microclimate’ was an installation of photo-collages and cucumber straighteners, plus a sensory banquet created by artist Gayle Chong Kwan. The work explored the history of the gardens, seasonality and the politics of food production, transportation and waste.
“I was interested in the history of the walled garden itself, the broader techniques and issues of being able to grow produce out of season and in different climates, and was struck by the relationship between nature and culture. The huge expense and great difficulty of growing fruit such as pineapples or grapes in a walled garden in England meant that there would have been a large dose of theatricality as to how the walled garden and the produce grown in it would have been experienced and shown off as much as possible. I was also fascinated by some of the Victorian growing methods and objects, such as the cucumber straighteners housed in the gardener’s room in the walled garden, which also links in with contemporary issues of food production and waste. As well as making sculptural works as interventions in the gardeners’ and pot sheds in the walled garden, I will also be developing a panoramic photographic work, which references Victorian photo collage, which will be exhibited in the Library at Normanby Hall.” – Gayle Chong Kwan.
As well as the installation, Gayle hosted a unique tasting experience for members of the public in the beautiful walled gardens at the Hall. The banquet included tastings of food grown and prepared on-site, along with multi-sensory activities and experiences in and around the gardens.
‘Microclimate’ marked the start of ‘Surroundings’ a three-year programme of international artist residencies and events with environmental themes. Each year has a different but interrelating theme – Food, Migration and Landscape respectively. ‘Surroundings’ was launched as part of the Hull UK City of Culture in 2017. It is produced and curated by Invisible Dust with the Humber Museums Partnership (HMP), which is made up of 16 Museums in Hull, East Riding and North Lincolnshire. Surrounding is funded through the prestigious Wellcome Trust ‘Sustaining Excellence Award’ and an Arts Council of England ‘Ambitions For Excellence’ grant.
Image: © The Sensory Banquet at Normanby Hall, Gayle Chong Kwan. Photo credit David Chalmers.