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Being in Nature: When Me Beomes We

For many of us, the enforced isolation brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic has unexpectedly prompted both a rediscovery of nature and a reconnection to our inner lives.

Isolation has instigated a slowing down and a stillness that causes the mind to wander, to remember. Walking through the city’s green spaces, it as though we are 're-minded' of who we are, as Toni Morrison might say, and how we are connected.

Marina Belintani's Japanese Knotweed experiments, transforming a problematic plant into new opportunities is a metaphor for the transformative process we are in the midst of. Her natural dyes and pigment extractions echo Hannah Elisabeth Jones’ forensic exploration of Local Colour; colours we encounter on daily walks, colours derived from foraged plants that pre-lockdown may have gone unnoticed. Sauntering in the city our senses reawaken. Air (Jinmei Wang). Land. Water. 23 Sunsets (Mengqian Ghe). Summer Grasses (Tess Whiting). The touch of Bamboo (Hsin-Chun Lin).

With idleness also comes play. Memories of childhood values, delighting in the small insignificant things, the past interrupting our present. Junghee Yoon’s crochet Doodles – a scribbled meditation on humour and play in everyday life. Wenxuan Zhou’s Little Sandbag – a wooden box of memories.

Lastly, Sne Tak’s organic Soft Vessels, inspired by her remembered past, ‘self-reliant’, ‘multi-faceted’, ‘able to change or be changed easily according to the situation’ … might this too, be a metaphor for the place we find ourselves in?

Dr Christine Checinska

Curatorial project for RCA2020

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