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Exploring people’s deep-rooted relationship with plants, water and the natural world, this is a multi-sensory exhibition, centred around five large-scale ceramic pieces by artist Serena Korda.

Their bulbous organic forms incorporate plant matter from the Horniman’s 16-acre Gardens, and reference objects from the Horniman’s anthropology collection. Each ceramic work releases an individual scent, replicating essential oils distilled from plants in the gardens, and complemented by a blended scent infusing the whole exhibition space. The site-specific soundscape features music created from signals occurring in plants and trees.

The exhibition is completed with a display of 100 objects from the Horniman’s world-class anthropology collection, chosen because they reflect people’s spiritual and cultural relationships with plants and water across different times and places. Objects on display include: a statue of Mami Wata, an African water deity; a dowsing stick, a device used to locate underground water; an udu drum also used as a water vessel; and an array of pipes, scent and incense holders from across the world.

A highlight of the exhibition is a rare volume of Anna Atkins’ Photographs of British Algae (1843), the first ever photographically illustrated book. Anna Atkins (1799-1871) was an English botanist who used cyanotypes for her work and is considered by some to be the first female photographer. For this exhibition, a series of cyanotypes has been created of plants from the Horniman Gardens and other objects, using the same technique as Atkins.

Horniman Museum and Gardens

100 London Road, Forest Hill, London, Greater London, SE23 3PQ

020 8699 1872

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Opening times

Museum: Daily, 10am - 5:30pm. Closed 24th - 26th December

Free to all

Free entry with National Art Pass

Free exhibitions with National Art Pass

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