Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Wakehurst
Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex, is set to embark on the most ambitious renovation project in its recent history. The Elizabethan Mansion, built in 1571-1590 and set in the heart of the gardens, requires an extensive roof restoration to preserve the Grade I listed building, originally bequeathed to the National Trust in 1963 and entrusted to Kew in 1965, for future generations.
With building work expected to last over two years, the Mansion will receive a radical facelift in the form of a newly commissioned installation from Australian artist, Catherine Nelson. Using photography of Wakehurst’s spectacular collections captured over the UK summer, Catherine will create ‘Planet Wakehurst’, a dazzling photo montage of the plants that span the 535-acre site – from the colourful blooms of the abundant Water Gardens to the towering redwoods of California in Horsebridge Wood.
Measuring over 1550m2, Catherine’s UK premiere will form the equivalent of 25 double decker buses, wrapping around 3 sides of the Mansion. Visitors to Wakehurst will have the chance to see beautiful species magnified in exceptional detail, offering new perspectives on the flora that make Wakehurst so special, and sparking curiosity into science research conducted across the living laboratory.
Lorraine Lecourtois, Wakehurst’s Head of Public Programmes says:
We have never embarked on a commission of such magnitude at Wakehurst before. Where some may have seen hoarding as an eyesore, we viewed this site as a unique canvas, giving us the amazing opportunity to platform Catherine’s beautifully striking work in the UK for the first time, and visitors a new perspective on the incredible range of plants we nurture at Wakehurst. We hope this will form a new life-affirming experience that will leave our visitors feeling hopeful about the important conservation research we undertake here and demonstrates our intention to preserve Wakehurst’s historic heart for generations to come.
T Projects were asked to lead the commissioing of this unique and exciting large scale public artwork. We undertook a global open call to artists and we were delighted to receive an incredible response from all over the world, including artists from Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Palestine, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, UK and the USA.