They give me quiet dialogue (SOLD), 2018
Synthetic polymer paint, lino cut, collagraph and relief prints, frottage, oil crayon, pigmented ink, posca pen and matte varnish on papers on stretched linen
120 x 220cm
Photo: Carl Warner. Courtesy of the artist and Onespace Gallery.
During residency at Youkobo Art Space Tokyo in 2017, I researched ‘The 10 Year project for Green Tokyo’ (Tokyo Metropolitan Government Project); observing many green spaces of this densely populated metropolis. The residency was an opportunity to experience universal desires for healthy urban lifestyle through the lens of another culture.
Plants observed in the ground – street trees, parks, home gardens – are heavily pruned and structured almost like architecture. In contrast, walking neighbourhood streets revealed personalised pot plant collections, gathered on doorsteps and hanging from window grills. To my eye these organic accumulations of green appeared ‘wild’, yet contained without roots in the ground. The expression of individuality and freedom in these mini environments, cobbled from containers of previous use and recycled materials, intrigued me.
As cities around the world grow, adapt to changing climate and aim to increase canopy cover; plants are used to enhance social cohesion and liveability of built environments. In 2017, during 5 days of open studio I conversed with visitors and asked them to complete a short questionnaire, describing their garden if they had one, or green space they visit, and values they felt plants contribute in their everyday lives. This cultural exchange of conversation about our relationship to environment was poignant and personal in response.
Exploring green space in Tokyo and researching the ’10 Year Project for Green Tokyo’, is perhaps in a way, taking a view of a possible future.