Michael Rakowitz: The Waiting Gardens of the North at Baltic

Maja Lorkowska, Exhibitions Editor
Michael Rakowitz, The invisible enemy should not exist (Room F, section 1, panel 15, Northwest Palace of Kalhu, 2019. Middle Eastern food packaging and newspapers, glue, cardboard on wooden structures, 88.6 x 84.2 x 3.5 inches.

Michael Rakowitz: The Waiting Gardens of the North at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle 15 July 2023 — 26 May 2024 Entrance is free — Visit now

Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz comes to Baltic with a new commission that responds to the idea of conflict.

The Waiting Gardens of the North is created in the form of a reimagined hanging garden, referencing one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was created in collaboration with people living in Newcastle and Gateshead with experience of forced displacement. The garden on display is in a state of ruin, acting as a metaphor for the trauma of war, oppression and the difficulties of adaptation that forced displacement brings. The installation consists of a collection of plants at different stages of development. Importantly, the plants, herbs and flowers selected for the display are native to the origin countries of the people based in Newcastle and Gateshead whom the artist collaborated with.

The exhibition is centred around a relief panel from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal (668–631 BCE) in Nineveh depicting the Assyrian gardens. Rakovitz recretes this panel on a grand scale, using his own technique of relief collage using food packaging, locally sourced from South Asian and African grocery stores.

The Waiting Gardens of the North is created in partnership with Imperial War Museums and 14-18 NOW.

Michael Rakowitz: The Waiting Gardens of the North at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle 15 July 2023 — 26 May 2024 Entrance is free Visit now

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