Cultivating the Community explores the power of nature in stimulating play and creativity within social contexts. It is also an artistic response to Conniburrow, one of the estates neighbouring Central Milton Keynes, and documents encounters with objects, spaces and people.
The exhibition presents work by artists Georgie Manly and Sarah Wright who, since 2017, have been involved in Playing Out - a two year project which uses art and play in the outdoor spaces of Conniburrow and Central Milton Keynes. For Georgie and Sarah, walking, talking, planting and making are often used to blur the lines between gardening and art, and the whole community is invited to share in this.
Cultivating the Community features drawings, maps, a ‘living sculpture’, and short films informed by time spent navigating the estate. In these works, nature provides physical space and materials for play and exploration. It entwines the artists’ philosophies and approaches to artmaking - like seeds, ideas have germinated and are slowly fertilised by interactions with people and places. Essential elements such as light, colour and space are used to bring about a sense of joy.
Nature manifests in diverse forms in the exhibition as it does in Conniburrow, where a community orchard provides a communal space for growing; houses back onto open green spaces; streets are named after plants; and like much of Milton Keynes, thoughtful planting schemes were carefully planned into its original design. It is this relationship between Conniburrow’s landscape and the role that art plays in nourishing its community which is explored in the exhibition.
Join Georgie and Sarah at the exhibition preview on Thursday 6 September, 6-8pm, to take part in a short walk to Conniburrow’s Community Orchard.
About the artists
Georgie Manly is a multi-disciplinary artist presenting work across a variety of platforms including the internet, galleries, and public spaces. She combines visual material, sound, video, writing and performance to play out a variety of ideas that respond to the world we live in.
Sarah Wright is an artist working and residing in Conniburrow. Sarah also leads volunteers at the Conniburrow Community Orchard and was appointed as the estate’s Community Artist in 2017. Sarah’s practice is informed by drawing which constantly reinforces her plans and ways of doing things.