This autumn the Surrey Hills will come alive not only with the seasonal colours but also an exciting new light installation. The temporary installation ‘Harvest’ features sixty six ‘invisible’ bales of hay, all of which will be cleverly illuminated. The artwork is the brainchild of local artist Mary Branson who wants to shine a light on the plight of the local farming community and the processes and rituals of harvest time in the current changing climate.
Mary comments: “It’s a rare privilege to be able to create an art work for such a beautiful location as Lower Box Hill Farm. Observing the fields harvest cycle has been a real eye opener, seeing the delicate balance faced each season with the increasingly extreme weather conditions. This is the story that has shaped my installation”.
Former Artist in Residence for the Houses of Parliament, Mary wanted to highlight how our changing climate has had a particularly damaging result on farming this year in the Surrey Hills with the drought causing a much reduced crop of hay at Box Hill Farm. She continues “Harvest is an illuminated artwork highlighting some of the unseen work that goes into shaping the landscape that is often taken for granted”.
The project forms part of ‘Surrey Unearthed’ a programme of ten linked projects exploring the natural materials beneath our feet through sculpture, installation, film, and writing. Surrey Unearthed celebrates the importance of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with its rich history of local industry, farming and culture and connecting people with their local landscapes.
The hay bales will light up from 15th-29th September from dusk until 10pm every Saturday and Sunday and will be visible from Salomon’s Memorial on Box Hill, enabling viewers to see the work from a distance.
For those wanting a close up look at the installation and a guided tour of the work by the artist herself, Mary is offering FREE guided walks on 15, 16, 22 and 23 September at dusk. Visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/harvest-artist-guided-walks-tickets-49647586267 to book a space.
The final opportunity to see the unusual piece in on the evening of Saturday 29 September at Salomon’s Memorial on Box Hill when a celebration event will take place. The event will include hand-held lanterns and traditional singing from community choirs and the opportunity to see the artwork lit up for the last time.
The Harvest light installation is funded by Arts Council England, Surrey County Council, The Surrey Hills Society and Arts Partnership Surrey.
Visit www.surreyunearthed.org for more information.