Archive | October, 2013

Eight days in Horatio’s Garden

9 Oct



Zena Kamash  ( senior researcher on the EnglaID project ) and myself ( project artist, EnglaID) have just spent eight days working in Horatio’s garden, which forms part of the Salisbury Hospital Spinal Unit.


Cleve West designed Horatio’s garden after the tragic death of Horatio, who was a volunteer at the Spinal Treatment Centre in his school holidays. It is an extraordinary place, a blast of colour and life, with beautiful landscape beyond it.

Our method of work over these past five weeks, stemmed from ideas developed in the EnglaID Didcot project but adapted itself to the new surroundings.  The archaeologist and artist worked alongside each other, in the garden, each looking at the landscape with different applications. Daily conversations with patients, visitors and staff centered on the landscape and the garden, shaping the work.

Conversations varied from archaeology, the links of landscapes and gardens, farming, the weather system, art, the height and importance of the horizon, Romans, the Clarendon way, the views from the wards in the Spinal Unit, the importance of the garden for well being, even the delights of a steak sandwich.

My own view was that in drawing the wonder and complexities of the garden, the landscape represented a feeling of clarity, of patterns becoming unified into defined shapes.  Perhaps this could be a metaphor, within the hospital context,  of the garden, being a bridge to the landscape beyond, representing  the hopes and possibilities of the wider world.

As the weeks went by, the project gathered momentum, patients, volunteers became more involved, a project formed by many , as opposed to a few, which was exciting.

The event on Sunday was an illustration of this, patients, volunteers, Zena, Olivia Chapple and myself taking part. The large audience  listened and viewed  presentations, photographs, a musical composition, maps,  and drawings all centred around landscape.


Conversations with a visitor!


The beginning of work by Zena.


Clarendon Drawing , (Detail)


Clarendon Drawing ( finished piece)