Sheltered Gardens, Αn original hybrid exhibition, PCAI in collaboration with J. & A. N. Diomedes Botanic Garden [22/9-30/11 2022]Marilena Pateraki
Sheltered Gardens is a hybrid, visual arts exhibition featuring more than 35 international artists, writers and performers. Inspired by H.D.’s poem Sheltered Garden (1916) and taking place in J. & A. N. Diomedes Botanic Garden, one of the largest and most important botanical gardens in the Mediterranean, PCAI’s new multimedia programme includes numerous new commissions and performances. Opening on 22 September, Sheltered Gardens will unfold through an online, digital exhibition available at pcai.gr, a limited edition publication, a contemporary art group exhibition and a series of performances at the Diomedes Botanic Garden in Athens.
From Sasha Velour’s drag performances to Linder’s punk photomontage and from Chris Kraus’ super 8 films to Leda Papaconstantinou’s poetic narratives, the exhibition sets as a virtual tour among climbing plants, bamboo clusters and she-shed greenhouses. It acquires a physical existence turning into performances, archives and traces of ecosystems and arguments rising within contemporary female gardens. Sheltered Garden (1916), by avant-garde imagist American H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), constitutes the exhibition’s starting point. A poem on H.D.’s relationship with nature depicting her quests as an early 20th century queer writer. Kinship with mother Earth, as a mythological aspect of cosmogony, garden as an archetype and gender inequalities have been discussed in many significant works by female writers. Alice Walker’s book In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens (1983), expresses the author’s own quest on ancestral past, art and identity as an African-American woman during a challenging period for human rights in the United States. In 1919, Virginia Woolf dedicated one of her first works to Kew Royal Botanic Gardens of London, while her personal reflections on issues such as spatiality and gender were vigorously captured in her renowned essay A Room of One’s Own (1929). Sheltered Gardens exhibition is an original hybrid environment referencing Donna Haraway’s (Cyborg Manifesto, 1985) rejection of rigid identity boundaries and spatial-physical restraints and proposing alternative, creative and environmental quests in times of turbulence.
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