Baltic has invited Michael Rakowitz to develop a major new commission in response to the idea of conflict to be presented in the Level 4 gallery. The artist has proposed to create a sprawling, immersive interior forest of trees, hedges, herbs, and medicinal plants that will be conceived and tended to in collaboration with local organisations.
Baltic is part of the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, a national programme of 22 artist commissions inspired by the heritage of conflict and created in partnership with Imperial War Museums and 14-18 NOW, the official UK arts programme for the First World War centenary.
The project is imagined as a “Hanging Garden”, referencing the one in Babylon that is considered among the Seven Wonders of the World. The garden will be inhabited by Rakowitz’s cardboard sculptures that attempt to reappear the archaeological cultural heritage that has been looted or destroyed in Iraq and Syria since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
From the ‘seeds’ of this hanging garden we’ll host events, workshops, grow plants and create tinctures, recipes, and poultices both onsite and offsite that promote healing and recovery for the mind and body. The garden, at the end of the exhibition, will sprawl into the city in small parts to a network of community and school gardens, expanding its footprint beyond Baltic.
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