News: Orleans House Gallery’s new exhibition to address environmental crisis

Addressing the ecological crisis of our time, Orleans House Gallery’s Remember the Future will see artists in residence setting up studios in this historic gallery on Richmond’s riverside. Over time our relationship with nature has become damaged; Remember the Future will explore how we can renew this relationship using the guest artists’ research to investigate the ways in which it can be fixed. This is the first exhibition in Orleans House Gallery’s new three-year project Cultural Reforesting.

The first of five residencies will be with renowned visual artists Ackroyd & Harvey, from 18th May – 18th July. Ackroyd & Harvey, notable for their work on environmental issues, will pull apart our relationship with time by interrogating the stories held in the ancestry of the Cedar of Lebanon tree, one of which stands in the gallery grounds. Through this expansive exhibition, the artists will examine ecocide – the destruction of an ecosystem of a particular area – and how we can prevent this in the future. They will consider how we can better value and protect our local environments through everyday action stemming from their research, and philosophies such as ecocentrism, which places the needs of nature above the desires of humans. Their research will highlight the importance of storytelling as a tool for combating the climate crisis. Ackroyd & Harvey will also create a grown artwork on-site, a new version of their work The Satanic Formula (after Senanayake), highlighting the need to consider the future in the actions we take today.

In residency in the grounds throughout Remember the Future will be artist Nestor Pestana. By focusing on bats, a species that inhabits the gallery grounds, and their connection to other species, Pestana will explore how human communities can engage with the wider ecosystem with empathy and a sense of responsibility towards otherness.

During each residency, artists will examine important environmental concerns including how we can all take proactive steps to help both the wider planet and our local ecosystems, and how each of us can place ourselves on a path to a more ecocentric future. Remember the Future will spread across the Orleans House Gallery site, grounds and ecosystem with a studio space in the gallery as well as art displays featuring works by all the artists in residency.

Cultural Reforesting is a three-year undertaking by Orleans House Gallery championing artistic research and the creation of a wide-ranging series of exhibitions, events and interdisciplinary collaborations. The project will turn Orleans House Gallery and its surprisingly wild grounds into an artistic laboratory to investigate our relationship with nature and the local Richmond riverside environment. Remember the Future is chapter one of this story.

Arts Service Manager Tim Corum said: “When Richmond declared a climate emergency in 2019, we wanted to explore how we as individuals or communities share our feelings and ideas about such an enormous problem. With Cultural Reforesting we aim to give artists and visitors the platform for developing and sharing their ideas about the environmental crisis. Remember the Future will unite a range of innovative artists in our gallery space to show their works and spend time in residence with us, investigating how we can renew our relationship with nature.”

Three more artist residencies will take place between July and November. Bryony Benge-Abbott will be in residence from 22nd July – 19th September, exploring how the practice of drawing nature can evoke a deeper sense of connection with our surroundings and help us to fully inhabit the living world. Vicky Long & Eloise Moody will be in residence from 3rd August – 3rd October examining the role that humans play in the ecosystem and what legacy we are transmitting to the unknown future. The final artist will be recruited via an open call and will be in residence from 23rd September – 14th November.

Running alongside the exhibition will be a series of exciting events a Late, workshops, family activities and talks.

For more information visit

Photo credit: Ellie Mackay

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