Play Along – Meet the Artists

Play Along is our fourth art exhibition in collaboration with Glasgow School of Arts and the Sculpture and Environmental Art department, as part of the Negotiated Project. Tucked away at the back of The Hidden Gardens this exhibition transforms the Woodland Glade into a wonderland of wind-up constructs and chimes, beckoning visitors to interact with musical sculptures, play with others, and create new immersive soundscapes. 3rd year GSA students Amy Anna Graham, Emil Gunnarsson, and Amy Dixon, talked to us about their experience creating new art for The Hidden Gardens, working with our communities and exploring the therapeutic side of art.

Emil GunnarssonMelodic Embrace

Emil’s imposing chimes are positioned as the centrepiece of the Woodland Glade. The sculpture invites visitors to nestle inside its melodic embrace, find comfort and create tunes with a harmonious doming effect. The soothing harmonies of the chimes complement the birdsongs and prayer sounds from the nearby Gurdwara, perpetuating the idea of an aural sanctuary. Emil explains that he was inspired by his favourite book as a child, The Secret Garden, and the idea of a green safe space that inspires curiosity, playfulness and contemplation. The sculpture echoes Emil’s music upbringing, but veers away from his classical music training, using notes from the pentatonic scale, a musical scale associated with cultures from all around the world. Melodic Embrace offers an opportunity for visitors to come together and create impromptu compositions and new harmonies. As Emil mentions “The sculpture can be played from both sides by up to four individuals, this is a piece about collaboration”.

Amy Anna GrahamThis space is ours

Amy’s rotary sculptures emerged in the Woodland Glade like seasonal wildflowers. Her sculptures can be felt, read, and played, inviting visitors to unravel their hidden message like opening a scroll. The phrases unveil little by little: “L I S T E N T O T H E B I R D S”, “I F E E L T H E P E A C E”, revealing phrases that she collected while interacting with visitors of The Hidden Gardens and members of our community groups. Amy’s sculptures are created through a process of abstraction the artist has implemented in previous works. The sculptures use a signature phrase, denoting a ridge for each of its letters. The phrases are then repeated as mantras in an infinite circle. As Amy mentions this repetition is an important element of her art, it provides the comfort that “this space will continue existing like that forever, that the Gardens will always be here”. Amy has a very personal relationship with the Hidden Gardens. She was born on the year of the Gardens’ opening and has been a regular visitor ever since. She recalls herself hiding in a hole in our bamboo hedge, or laying down on the grass on a hot summer day, and chasing after the shadow of the ginkgo tree to escape the heat. “This has been a full circle moment for me”, she confides, “I would have never imagined myself exhibiting my work at The Hidden Gardens, especially on such an important year, as the Gardens’ 20th anniversary”.

Amy DixonAssorted Pottery

As you explore the edges of the Woodland Glade, keep an eye out for the delightful pottery pieces that dot the landscape. These beautiful creations are the result of a series of workshops led by Amy Dixon with members of The Hidden Gardens Men’s Group. Each of these whimsical pieces has a story to tell and reflects the individuality and personality of each participant. As Amy explains, she wanted to explore the therapeutic effects of pottery, while introducing a relaxing and deeply grounded activity to the group. Amy learned how to create pots by watching videos on YouTube, and ever since she has been passionate to share the craft in various community settings and make it more accessible. “It is such a satisfying and relaxing activity”, she says, “it reminds myself of the mud pies I was making as a child. It’s just so gratifying creating something from the earth”. Amy is now will creating a small publication that documents the creative process behind the development of the pots.

Play Along. At The Hidden Gardens’ Woodland Glade, Friday 31st March – Wednesday 5th April 2023