Phy.tol.ogy. meets Bethnal Green

May 4, 2016

Art, Botany and medicine in the Urban Jungle

Meet our newest addition to local Green spaces in Bethnal Green, due to re-open this weekend. The Phytology garden project is a natural heritage program connecting artists, botanists and the local community to the sanctuary of the Urban Wilderness.

This lush green field (gorgeously tucked away) is accessible to the public; plentiful with plants, and wildlife. Complete with an Orchard fruit forest growing plums, pears and berries, and indigenous medicinal meadow abundant in herbs to harvest for health and wellbeing. Come immerse yourself in the natural beauty, sow new seeds, Adopt a Plant and get lost in the serenity of Mother Nature.

The Phytology heritage project aims at being more than just another “manicured” garden, but a multi-use site. Part medicinal meadow and botanical retreat; part creative platform and artist residency. Situated in the heart of Bethnal Green, on what was formerly the disused ruins of St Jude’s Church in the 50’s. Phytology has evolved organically, into a local Nature Reserve teeming with biodiversity. An alternative studio venue for upcoming artists to showcase works, and a central community provision for interaction with the local landscape. The aims are simple; to regenerate and add value to the land. To provide a functional, artistic and recreational hub for all communities (human, and non-human) in the heart of the East End.

 “The Template for the piece of land is a cultural institute I’m very much into process, and the artistic process being open and inclusive, so that the audience can engage with the process. The process is paramount. And that’s what this site offers to do”

Michael Smythe. (Nomad Projects)

A host of artists have taken residency to interact and create within the Phytology wilderness.. Street artist Lucy Maclaulan’s sculptural project Places to Dwell that May Never Have Been Seen will be the latest installation launched for the grand re-opening. Exploring the value of waste, and shelter, she recreates totem like structures from disused waste items that can provide shelter for “bats, bird’s insects and frogs”. A welcomed way “to up the biodiversity opportunities for the non-human habitants” says Michael Smythe, current custodian and gatekeeper everything here should have a purpose, this one is to “create habitat”

What else to look out for?

Clusters of speakers will be installed to play the five-part sound piece VOICED in which artists Lucy Cash, David Nash, James Nixon, Stick in the Wheel and Sarah Westcott have collaborated to create street cries, charms, poems and incantations. Responding to the local surroundings, producing works that focus on the land, soil, the history and narratives of myths and the local area. It’s an invitation “to just stop and listen”…“The more you stop, the more you look and the more you see.”

Don’t miss it!

Phytology: 7th May – 3rd September 2016

Bethnal Green Nature Reserve. Middleton Street, Bethnal Green, London E2 9RR

Admission, free.

For more information and details about forthcoming events including the Campfire Club programme see


-By Leah Abraham

Author: greg

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