Evocative Armistice Exhibition at Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan will bring to a close its four-year long programme of Arts events commemorating The Gardeners of Heligan House and their service during World War 1, this November (2018) with an evocative Armistice exhibition.

In Their Name‘ will reach a moving and visually stunning finale as Heligan unveils a trio of exquisite art works especially commissioned from acclaimed South African artist, Lize Krüger. These unique pieces will be displayed at the heart of The Gardens first discovered by Tim Smit and John Nelson back in 1990.

In Their Name: Don’t Come Here to Sleep Or To Slumber‘ is a collection of three stunning artworks all brimming with deep symbolism and meaning;  portraying the inter-relationship between the garden and its men and conveying  the resilience of the garden, its gardeners and soldiers. The title is taken from writing on the wall of the Thunderbox Room at the gardens, where above the gardeners’ signatures and the date August 1914, the following line was written: “Don’t’ come here to sleep or to slumber.”

Before Heligan came into my life I was a bit like the Garden – Lost,” said Lize (pictured left).

My introduction to the grounds from Alex Smit excited me and I immediately experienced a deep connection with all that is and was Heligan. Its story and invisible mystery captured me and it felt like a homecoming.
Because I could relate to the history and human story on quite a few levels, my fear of not being able to present an authentic celebration of the men’s lives diminished. The commitment and process forced me out of my own almost 10 year ‘sleep and slumber’.

During the creation of these three works I moved in and out of the drama as spectator and participant simultaneously. Heligan dictates and I am enchanted….”

The three pieces, the ‘The Lost Ones‘, ‘The Forgotten ones‘ and ‘Heligan‘, have been created using a meticulous method of layering decorated transparent panels, each with their own meaning and symbolism. Together, they create an overall feeling of enchantment, sacredness and an ethereal quality.

This final project marks the end of Heligan’s centenary commemorations and celebrates the circle of life and death and rebirth – in the words of Tim Smit, “It tells an old story in a new way.”

Candy Smit points out that in 1914, 23 men worked in the gardens at Heligan: “By 1917 their number was reduced to just eight,” she said. “We know that 13 enlisted in World War 1 and only four returned. Behind these figures is concealed so much personal tragedy.”

From the beginning, when John Nelson and Tim Smit discovered the pencil signatures of former staff in the old gardeners’ toilet, they determined that their garden restoration would uniquely celebrate the skills and hard labour of the men who first created and worked in them. However,the date under one particular column of names drew attention to Heligan’s intimate connection with World War 1, so for the past 20 years, in addition to horticultural research, local investigations have also focused on the contribution of these local men abroad and the impact this had on local families.

In Their Name: Don’t Come Here to Sleep Or To Slumber’ by Lize Krüger opens to the public at The Lost Gardens of Heligan on 11th November, immediately following Heligan’s ceremony to mark the Centenary of The Armistice in the Melon Yard. Entrance to the exhibition is included within normal garden admission through into 2019.

For more information on the Lost Gardens of Heligan please visit: https://www.heligan.com/

Photo credits: All images ©Lost Gardens of Heligan