Botany and Empire

25 September – 20 November 2004
18 September – 23 October 2004 Liverpool Biennial – Old Haymarket / National Wildflower Centre
25 September – 20 November 2004 Spacex, Exeter

Maria Thereza Alves, Caroline Bergvall & Ciaran Maher, Susan Boafo, Jyll Bradley, Stuart Brisley, Peter Fend / GLOBAL FEED, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Helena Goldwater, Andrew Lawson, Vong Phaophanit, Lois & Franziska Weinberger

Hortus is an international group exhibition that explores underlying links between horticulture and colonialism, through contemporary art. It is a dual-site exhibition taking place simultaneously at Spacex, in Exeter, and as part of the Liverpool Biennial, in the Old Haymarket, with a special project at the National Wildflower Centre.

More Info

While c19th plant gatherers followed the trade routes that grew up with the expanding British Empire, nurseries were busy hybridizing and improving their discoveries, acclimatizing new varieties to the British conditions. The contemporary legacy of this process of conquest and acquisition lives on in the form of the so-called ‘English’ garden, with its enormous variety of plants from around the world.

2004 has been designated the ‘Year of the Garden’ in the UK (marking the 200th anniversary of the Royal Horticultural Society), at a time when gardening has become enormously popular, yet there has been little reflection on the power mechanisms which brought the English garden, as we know it today, into being.

Related Events

Flower Story
14 & 15 October 2004
An opportunity for pre-school children and their parents / carers to work with artist Kathy Norris. Fun creative activities inspired by themes in Hortus.

Young Flower Arrangers
29 October 2004
If you thought that flower-arranging was stuffy think again! Well-known local flower arranger Janet Phare will lead this fun, foliage-filled workshop.

The Big Draw
16 October 2004
At St Bridgets Nursuries, Old Rydon Lane
Shoppers are invited to spend some time drawing plants and making plant games with Ruth Oakley.

Plant Identification
26 & 27 October 2004
Our nursery-man in residence, Caradoc Doy, will be on hand to identify which parts of the world your plant originates from and which plant family it belongs to. Record what you have discovered on a decorative label.

Hortus Print-making
28 October 2004
Find out about how printing links to the themes of the current exhibition and experiment with different techniques to make a set of your own prints. Double Elephant Print Workshop will lead this session.