Friday, 1 January 2016



Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park contains many mature trees, each one precious. But a decision had to be taken when disease turned one giant plane tree into a potential killer. It would have to be felled. 


When the tree was given a life sentence, the local community, local Councils and the redoubtable Friends of Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park suggested that the trunk of the tree be turned into a work of art, with peace as its theme.The image above spells this out: it's part of the  Berlin wall and is erected outside the IWM. Funding came from many sources including Borough, Southwark, Bankside and Walworth Community Council's Greener, Cleaner, Safer Scheme

   The result is powerful. We are familiar with figurative sculptures of torsos and limbs - but marble or stone is what we expect. Here we are faced with the paradox of looking at a sculpture which was once alive, greening every spring, sheltering birds, shedding leaves. It creates an astonishing tension. The carving suggests bodies and entwined limbs with a subtle and allusive beauty.   In the sunshine the wood gleams with colours of bronze and nut brown and ebony. You could almost say that the tree is stronger and more alive and vital than it has ever been.

The Imperial War Museum is set in the grounds of this Park. What was once the Bethlehem Royal Asylum, established in 1815, relocated in Bromley in 1926. The land and buildings were bought by Viscount Rothermere, who presented them to the LCC for use as a public park in memory of his mother, Geraldine Mary Harmsworth. The remains of the hospital building were converted into the Imperial War Museum in the 1930s. Its most recent and spectacular refurbishment was completed in 2015.

You can find out more about this  often anonymous street artist (like Banksy) on his facebook entry  mORGANICo. Or discover some of the pop art style portraits of assembled guests  he made at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh to celebrate the opening of a new Roy Lichtenstein exhibition.

JUST IN: more information and images from  mORGANICo

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