Phoebe Boswell’s immersive new work inhabits Orleans House Gallery and its surrounding woodlands in an intergenerational call and response, where trees become repositories of inquiry, engaging the audience in an intergenerational call and response. Boswell provides a sanctuary where we can ask questions and listen to elders articulate life in a way we can understand.
Inspired by Hermann Hesse’s ‘Trees are Sanctuaries’, the artist collected questions from the public. These questions were used in her interviews with a diverse group of respected elders worldwide. Interviewees included a feminist activist from Gorée, a former nun turned actor from Ireland, a Greek scientist passionate about plants, and the first Black woman to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale.
Talking about the exhibition Boswell stated “Making this work has been endlessly rewarding. Taking the time to sit with each participant, listening as they wind their way through the sometimes fluid sometimes knotty paths of their lives has been an immense honour. A revelation. I have learned a lot. Mostly about courage, and dignity, humour, love, and simply how to live in our own bodies as well as in relation to one another. Whenever I make work that invites participation, I am stunned by the generosity and trust inherent in the bond. It is this that informs the work – it becomes what it needs to be – and I am very grateful.”
The exhibition will open from the 7th of July until the 5th of November, 2023 at Orleans House Gallery, Orleans Rd, Twickenham, TW1 3BL.