The Oak Project announces new commission by Charlotte Smithson at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

7th July 2021

The Oak Project announces the second public art commission in its 2021 programme by Manchester-based artist Charlotte Smithson at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, London from 21 – 26 September 2021.

Great Oaks from little Acorns grow by Smithson presents nature’s fragile beauty and its complex biological processes through a carefully curated botanical installation of suspended glassware.

Drawing on research evidence and the pathways to nature connectedness from the Nature Connectedness Research Group at the University of Derby, Great Oaks from little Acorns grow invites viewers to reflect upon the earth and climate, and their personal role in restoring a more balanced relationship with the natural world.

The exhibit is a circular design, where the environmental impact of each component is minimised. The piece will contain organically grown plants, recycled laboratory glassware, reused and repaired mechanics and compostable biomaterials.

Artist Charlotte Smithson said: In a mutually symbiotic relationship between two organisms, both parties benefit from one another. Through the air we breathe, the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the medicines that heal us, humans are inextricably linked to plants, but because we have become disconnected from nature, we’re often guilty of taking, but not giving back. It is vital we redress that balance. This piece is not just a comment on the environmental crises – it is a call to action.

Prof Miles Richardson, University of Derby said: Simply through plants, ‘Great Oaks from little Acorns grow’ taps into many of the relationships people have with nature. From plants that have uses, those we control and those we study through to those relationships that bring us closer to nature. Beautiful plants that through the joy and calm they bring add meaning to our lives and a desire to care for them. The work celebrates these relationships and is a lesson in the attention and noticing of nature needed for a sustainable future.

Tom Stuart-Smith, RHS Iconic Horticultural Hero and Committee Member at The Oak Project said: This poetic and beautiful project brings us close to delicacy and transience of nature. I hope that even amidst the bustle of the flower show, people might stop, reflect, and in this small moment, might resolve to take more affirmative action in their life to help our planet.

Great Oaks from little Acorns grow by Charlotte Smithson at RHS Chelsea Flower Show is part of ‘The Great Big Green Week’ – a nation-wide event shining a light on the British public’s appetite for action on the nature and climate emergency, with the aim to set the stage for high-ambition when the UK hosts an international climate summit in November, COP26.

The Oak Project is a programme that explores our relationship with the natural world and builds connection to nature through arts, culture and creativity. It is a partnership between Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the University of Derby and the Bronze Oak Project Ltd, a not-for-profit that promotes art to create nature connection. Over the next five years, the project will pioneer arts-participation to create kinship with nature. The Oak Project recently unveiled Silence – Alone in a World of Wounds by Heather Peak and Ivan Morison at Yorkshire Sculpture Park on World Environment Day.

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