The Artist’s Garden

The Artist's Garden will showcase one of London's best kept secrets - Joseph Bazalgette's stunning Temple Roof Garden. Peter Gray reports

A candidate for London’s best kept secret, Sir Joseph Bazalgette’s vast roof terrace above Temple Station is a place of calm and serenity – which is not surprising considering most Londoners don’t know it exists! This is set to change, however, with the launch of The Artist’s Garden, a collaboration between Westminster Council, 180 Studios and the CoLAB Temple.

A series of art installations which showcase the gardens and the art within it – the event is set to begin with an exhibition of the work of the London based British Ugandan artist Lakwena Maciver.

Back in the Air: A Meditation on Higher Ground will see Maciver create an ‘expansive and immersive’ floorscape consisting of a series of intensely coloured, geometric forms, which visitors are welcome to walk upon.

Primarily known for the dissemination of messages in her work (Lakwena means ‘messenger’ in the alcoholi language of Northern Uganda), Maciver’s work interrogates and explores such ideas as diaspora, decolonisation, afrofuturism and utopia.

“I would say most of my work is very much about wanting to speak” says Lakwena of her art. “Words are an essential part of that. I don’t always know what I want to say, and praying, writing, listening to music, it’s when I do those things that I start to work out what I want to say, the ideas flow” she says about the inspiration for her work”.

The Temple Station Roof Terrace was built in 1870 by Sir Joseph Bazalgette. The 1,400 Square metre site is known to few in London, mainly due to its inaccessible location, high above the streets of Central London. Invisible from the street, it is reached by well-worn steps with foreboding gates at the top of which a massive space opens up with the tops of the trees at eye level, crowned by the sky.

For those who do make it up there, however, the venue offers spectacular views across the River Thames.

The Artist’s Garden hopes to put the venue on the map. Described as a ‘beacon of London recovery’, the project is the result of four years of work by the CoLAB group.

The team were born out of a desire to create new opportunities for artists to use unusual sites as experimental laboratories in order to realise their most ambitious, far-flung, and life-affirming work.

Working with partners from English Heritage, Rivers and Canals Trust to businesses to national collections, theCoLAB’s work has changed the way individuals perceive, experience, and understand the interrelation of space, place, concept, and sculpture.

“The Artist’s Garden is a beacon of London’s recovery through collaborative work with visionary partners intent on making this overlooked place between earth and sky a place to celebrate the connection between art and place. Lakwena’s intervention is a revelation: of an extraordinary site and of the power of the artist to bring us a glimpse of earthly paradise. An immersive, profound and powerful tonic, it orients the public towards the contemplation and creation of a positive future.” Says the CoLAB’s Director, Clare Mander.

The Artist’s Garden will be at Temple Place from the 6th of October 2021 until the 30th of April 2022. You can read more about the event here. Further installations are expected to be announced for the venue shortly.

Information about other great outdoor events in London can be found here.

-London's Best Events-
What: exhibition
When: 6 Oct 21 - 30 Apr 22
Where: Temple Station