Lancaster University

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Artist Creates Floating Garden For Bangladesh

12/11/2008 12:03:53

The Floating English Garden which is not yet complete
The Floating English Garden which is not yet complete

An artist working in the University’s Chaplaincy Centre has created a floating Art Installation entitled “The Floating English Garden” to help raise awareness about Bangladesh and how it is being affected by Global Warming.

Christine Dawson was inspired to create an artwork for Bangladesh after learning how dire the situation is for that country. The International Panel on Climate Change has indicated that Bangladesh could lose 17% of its land and 30% of its food production to flooding by the year 2050. She read that in rural areas of Bangladesh, especially at monsoon periods, farmers have created a series of “Floating Gardens” to grow sustenance crops.

Christine said: “I want to show the contrast of what we do in a garden compared to the absolute need of the floating gardens in Bangladesh. There, land is so precious as it is disappearing year by year. Our lifestyles have much to do with this.”

Once complete, the Installation will be waterproofed and floated on Lake Carter for One World Week in spring. The Installation sits on a raft of bamboo created by Michael Newton who is studying for an MA in Religious Studies at the University. The raft was built at a workshop run by Christine and Michael at the Chaplaincy Centre.

The Garden is modelled on the national flag of Bangladesh, with a background of green artificial grass and a central red circle which will house a bird-bath and roses. The Garden is surrounded by a picket fence and will be dotted with garden furnishings and paraphernalia such as wine glasses, a book, watering-cans and a trough to collect flowers. To further make the connection with Bangladesh ,everything in “The Floating English Garden”, will be covered in jute – which is one of the most manufactured products in Bangladesh.

Every English garden need flowers and Christine has already run a workshop this term with the International Women’s Group to create jute roses for the Installation. Many more are needed and she intends to run another workshop early next term. All are welcome and she will be advertising it shortly.

Father Hugh Pollock from the Chaplaincy Centre said: “We have always been impressed with Christine’s artwork, because of the way in which she involves so many people in what she is doing. The final object is only a part, and possibly the least important part of her work. For the Chaplaincy, where we are hoping to engage with and welcome as wide a group of people as possible, and as diverse a group, Christine’s work fits in extremely well with our ethos.”

Half of the £400 collection from the Carol Service at the Chaplaincy Centre is to be donated to the group Help Keep Bangladesh Afloat.