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William Morris Gallery: artist in residence to explore Morris’s green ideals

The William Morris Gallery has announced its new artist in residence after receiving a record number of applications.


Experimental filmmaker Rosalind Fowler will use the residency to explore the connections between Morris’s “ecotopian” ideals and Waltham Forest’s expanding network of urban food-growing sites.


Inspired by News from Nowhere, Morris’s utopian romance, the residency will focus on OrganicLea, a community gardening project near Epping Forest where Fowler volunteers. With a workers’ cooperative at its core, OrganicLea embodies the principles of community, equality and sustainability that underpinned Morris’s socialist vision.


Using a wind-up 16mm camera and eco-friendly hand-processing film techniques, Fowler will create a filmic portrait of the place, people and politics that form OrganicLea. The film will be processed on the OrganicLea site in a specially created organic film lab.


The Gallery and OrganicLea will work in partnership to realise the residency, which includes a number of public engagement activities such as film screenings, workshops and open days. The film lab and open sessions will be delivered with artist James Holcombe.


The residency, which is funded by Arts Council England, is open to practising artists with a strong connection to Waltham Forest and whose work gives a new perspective on Morris’s legacy. The Gallery received 150 applications this year, a record number.


Rosalind Fowler commented:


“I’m struck by similarities between Morris’s dreams for the future in which people work collectively in harmony with nature, and the network of urban growing sites that has sprung up over Waltham Forest in recent years.”


“The residency is a fantastic opportunity to link together my key interests – artist filmmaking and community gardening. Morris provides the perfect conceptual link through which to explore film as craft and the social concerns that underpin my work.”


Chris Robbins, leader of Waltham Forest Council, said:


“The Gallery’s artist in residence programme is going from strength to strength and I’m thrilled that we’ve had more applications than ever this year. Rosalind’s original take on Morris’s ideas, as well as the strength of her previous work, really made her application stand out. I’m sure she will make a big impact and inspire many more local artists to apply next year.”


Notes


A high resolution image of Rosalind Fowler can be downloaded from:


https://share.walthamforest.gov.uk/Download/efdb143719b3b59316a1d117b3684083


About the William Morris Gallery


The William Morris Gallery is the only public Gallery devoted to William Morris: designer, craftsman and radical socialist. Housed in the grade II* listed building that was Morris's family home from 1848 to 1856, the Gallery reopened in August 2012 following a major redevelopment that attracted widespread public and press acclaim.


Since its relaunch the Gallery has developed an ambitious contemporary programme, hosting Morris-inspired exhibitions by artists including Grayson Perry, Jeremy Deller and Yinka Shonibare.


The Gallery, which is owned and run by Waltham Forest Council, was awarded the Art Fund prize for Museum of the Year in 2013 and was nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award in 2014.


About Rosalind Fowler


Rosalind Fowler is an artist filmmaker with a background in anthropology. Her work explores the politics and poetics of place and belonging in the contemporary English landscape through the prisms of folk culture, alternative communities, science fiction, pre-history and dreams.


Fowler has exhibited widely, including at the ICA, BFI, Plymouth Arts Centre, Milton Keynes Gallery, Pumphouse Gallery, BBC Birmingham, and Fundação Manuel António da Mota in Porto. She lives and works in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.


See www.rosalindfowler.co.uk for more information.


About OrganicLea


OrganicLea is a community food project based in the Lea Valley in north-east London. It produces and distributes food and plants locally, inspiring others to do the same. With a workers’ cooperative at its core, OrganicLea brings people together to take action towards a more just and sustainable society.

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