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An Enchanted Garden2 min read

Jul 6, 2022 2 min

An Enchanted Garden2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Magical. Thought-provoking. Joyous. Accessible. Sustainable. Creative. Collaborative. All describe Comet Project Space’s Enchanted Garden exhibition at Naomi and Bill Kirk Park in Māngere Bridge, held in May. The park was transformed into a luminous, flower-filled garden, with live handpan music completing the effect.

 

The artwork is titled Inflorescence, meaning the process of flowering. Flowers, as Lara notes, are “a subject that people of all ages can enjoy and find beauty in.” The flowers are placed at different heights creating an immersive environment that allows them to be at eye level. Furthermore, Enchanted Garden is usually exhibited in physically accessible local spaces such as parks, allowing more people to experience the exhibition.

 

While the flowers are beautiful in themselves, the artwork also holds a deeper meaning. Lara Thomas, a lead artist and the curator of Inflorescence, hopes that in addition to bringing joy, it will help to “change people’s perception of waste, but also think about their own habits of consumerism”. In 2019, while cleaning up after an Artweek exhibition, volunteers accidentally placed bioplastic cups in a dishwasher. When the cups were removed, the plastic had curled into shapes that resembled flower petals. After experimenting, Bobbie Gray – who is both the founder of Comet Project Group and one of Inflorescence’s lead artists – realised she could achieve similar results at home with plastic bottles and a little heat.

 

The exhibition encourages visitors to think about how rarely plastic is re-used before being thrown away. It may also inspire people to consider what they can do to reduce their plastic consumption. Using plastic as a material to make art also had another benefit –  accessibility. Plastic is cheap, and it’s everywhere; without access to an affordable resource and the ability for artists to communicate remotely during lockdown, this exhibition may never have happened.

 

For those wanting to experience Inflorescence up close, the next exhibition will be at the Auckland Botanic Gardens on the 15th and 16th July. The gardens are wheelchair accessible and free to enter.