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Whispering Roses - Museum of Garden History

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

OVER THE last twelve months, Lisa Cheung, the first artist in residence at the Museum of Garden History, has been exploring the archives, piecing together the stories behind the objects donated to the museum.

In the course of her work, she has also researched and interviewed the many people who have contributed in some way to the archives and collection of the museum.

The result is Whispering Roses – an audio guide with a soundtrack that plays fact and fiction, memories and the present, and celebrates the lives of these very special people. It’s available from May 26 to June 30, 2006.

Cheung graduated from Goldsmiths College. Her general practice explores how art can influence the cultural and social transformation of individuals and communities. She has shown widely around the UK and taken part in exhibitions in Germany, Spain, Israel, Canada and Brazil.

Speaking of her work, she said: “These distant pieces behind display cases suddenly became alive to me when I learned about the different people who owned them; what they did, where they lived and how they lived.

Within each object, there is a memory of the former owner(s) and it is this sense of the identity and personal history that I am interested in.

Throughout my research and interviews, I met a diverse range of people: from grandfathers to children, photographers to writers, sea captains to gardeners, all have a passion for life and their gardens.

When recounting memories, fact and fiction tend to merge together to a certain extent, with details vague and embellishments liberal. But that doesn’t really matter.

It is not the accuracy of the memories that is important, but rather it is their personal attachment to the owner that makes them remembered and treasured, and their ability to resonate privately as well as collectively that makes them remarkable.”

The Museum of Garden History in Lambeth Palace Road, is open daily from 10.30am to 5pm. Admission is by voluntary donation: £3 (£2.50 concessions).

For further information call 020 7401 8865 or visit the website.