The unique character of West Norwood Cemetery’s Gothic revival landscape, architecture and notable historic burials provides the reference points for an exhibition, curated by artist Jane Millar, of 22 art works by 22 artists sited around the cemetery grounds. The exhibition evokes a sense of wonder about the site: an imaginative journey for visitors to the cemetery, uncovering intangible content and acting as a link to storytelling around the site.
Using sound, sculpture, ceramics, poetry, textiles and photography, artists create works to link their own specialism to the site. Jane Wildgoose will create an installation in the Maddick Mausoleum, working with the historic archives held at the cemetery, and poet Chris McCabe will create a work that invites the audience to collect text from around the site and create their own poems in response. Meanwhile landscape designer Jane Brockbank will be bringing her unique Flower Theatre to the cemetery, celebrating the use of flowers as symbols of life and mortality.
The artworks also uncover aspects such as natural history, different cultural groups and themes of mourning, loss and afterlife. The architectural and overgrown areas of the cemetery are used to theatrical effect, with mausoleum doors becoming spaces for artists Jane Ward and Andrea Thoma to experiment with landscape and tromp l’oeil. Based in West Norwood, Mylands are the oldest manufacturers of paint in London, and their new range ‘Colours of London’ will be showcased in a specially commissioned work by recent graduate Xanthus Andrews. The common grave area is celebrated by historian Dr Ruth Richardson, local food producers and local people with A Grand Picnic For the Common Dead on Sunday 21st July, a free event with performance, music, poetry, feasting and a spontaneous installation to remember the hidden histories of working class Victorians. Other pieces include ceramic work referencing the connection of Sir Henry Doulton to the cemetery, and a pedal-powered Victorian train carriage for visitor rides around the site.
On Saturday 6th July, London Dreamtime will curate a magical evening of live music, performance and art, from 7.30pm to 10pm; tickets cost £10.
22nd June-28th July 2013
West Norwood Cemetery
Open daily until 6pm, free entrance.