Author: Gabi Gillott
In RBGE Creative Programmes’ exhibition in Inverleith House – Florilegium: A gathering of flowers, there is something for everyone. In the first room downstairs, you can lose yourself in the meticulously skilled detail of botanical paintings and illustrations, which have been contributed from around the world. Upstairs, you can meander from Wendy McMurdo’s Scottish Garden, through a Barbadian sugarcane plantation with Annalee Davis, pausing upon RBGE’s own Herbarium and Centre for Middle-Eastern plants with Lyndsay Mann, and finally travelling through a floral take on 100 days of traditional Taiwanese mourning with Lee Mingwei.
In March 2020, RBGE was due to host ‘Closing the Loop’ in partnership with Applied Arts Scotland – a workshop for makers exploring environmentally sustainable approaches to materials and making, to complement the Think Plastic exhibition in the John Hope Gateway. However, the temporary closure of the Garden, due to COVID-19, shifted this workshop into the virtual realm. The title of this discursive workshop ‘Closing the Loop’ drew on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s concept of circular economies, as described by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
In a time of such unpredictable global conditions, we can’t pull ourselves away from thinking about the timely delivery of RBGE’s newly adopted artwork Early Warning Signs. Taking up a prominent position at the entrance to Inverleith House at the beginning of this year, it seems only too fitting that the spinning ‘climate/change’ (‘change/climate’) sign arrived during a particularly stormy January.
Alessandra Leruste has been a Volunteer gallery assistant with Inverleith House since 2019. Alessandra has an MA in History of art from the University of Edinburgh and has her own art-writing blog. Here, Alessandra shares her experience from the afternoon of Siân Bowen’s micro-conference at RBGE.
Klaudia Jaworska is in her third year at Edinburgh Napier University, studying International Festivals and Events Management and Marketing. As part of her course, she is currently carrying out a work placement in RBGE’s Public Engagement Department. Here, Klaudia shares her experience from the morning of Siân Bowen’s micro-conference at RBGE.
Siân Bowen’s Leverhulme Research Fellowship Exhibition: After Hortus Malabaricus: Sensing and Presencing Rare Plants
After Hortus Malabaricus: Sensing and Presencing Rare Plants marks the culmination of my four-year collaboration with the Herbarium at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE). Having held my first solo exhibition in Scotland at Inverleith House at RBGE in 1995, it is wonderful to be able to exhibit here once again. In 2017, I was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to carry out the project. The Leverhulme Trust is known for supporting experimental proposals with an emphasis on outward facing journeys. The journey that the award facilitated has certainly been extraordinary – opening up possibilities to work with botanists, ecologists, historical researchers, cultural geographers, taxonomists and curators. It has allowed encounters with rare plants in darkened herbaria and light-filled South Indian forests and swamps; epistemologies used to ‘reveal’ specimens and sensory differences between plants’ live and preserved states.
Sometimes, an exhibition comes along that offers me a whole new appreciation of something that I normally take for granted. Inverleith House’s summer exhibition – Microsculpture – does…