The Botanical Cabinet takes its name from a historical plant publication, which has inspired three contemporary artists to contemplate notions of migration and naturalisation of plants and of people.
An American artist of European heritage, Marcia Teusink explores the movement of plants during the colonial period and beyond. Working in sculpture, painting and video she examines the effects of history on modern life, in particular in the context of climate change as the long term effects of moving species from their original ecosystem are evident to this day.
Chicago-based artist Tulika Ladsariya is drawn to objects associated with domesticity and nurture to discuss identity and personal experience as a first generation immigrant with roots in India. In her cyanotypes the plants she prints onto pages torn from her old school atlas serve as metaphors for the care required in putting down roots, while the maps lament the imposed borders that separate cultures.
Milena Michalski investigates the botanical hierarchies applied to plants and draws parallels between leaf and human veins, lines of communication and cartography. With parents from Yugoslavia and Germany her ancestral countries no longer exist in the way they did when she was born. Plants are not only the subject of her work, but form part of its materiality through her use of plant developers, inks and toners in her printmaking and photographic work.
All works relate directly or indirectly to the legacy of Loddiges Nursery. Initially a small seed business, started by a German immigrant, the nursery on Mare Street rose to fame during the early nineteenth century. Boasting the largest hothouse in Europe at the time, Loddiges was celebrated for introducing many species that are now common in the UK.
Built in 1697 as a grand country house, 195 Mare Street is one of Hackney’s oldest buildings. Home to the Elizabeth Fry Refuge from 1860-1913, the property housed thousands of young women recently released from prison. In the twentieth century, it became the New Lansdowne Working Men’s Club before falling into disrepair. The house will soon be restored as a family home and community arts venue.
The exhibition will be open from 11am to 5pm on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays during the exhibition period.