Sutton House and Breaker's Yard National Trust
Exhibition Design, Interpretive Display
Built in 1535, Sutton House is a Tudor manor house on Homerton High Street, in the London Borough of Hackney. The adjacent Breaker's Yard was once a car-breaker’s yard. Because of this, the plants there need to be able to grow in poor soil or containers. The property is now being cared for by The National Trust conservation charity.
Platinum Garden is a queer gardening project initiated during Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee. It was led by artist Daniel Baker, with Queer Botany, Rainbow Grow and Peabody. The Garden is inspired by artist Derek Jarman's garden at Prospect Cottage, LGBTQI+ gardeners and alternative approaches to urban gardening.
Derek Jarman (1942–1994) was an artist, film-maker, and Gardener. After being diagnosed as HIV positive in 1986 he moved to Prospect Cottage in Dungeness, Kent near a nuclear power station along the coast. He planted a garden there with plants that could endure the harsh coastal weather and salty shingle beach. His garden is decorated with flotsam and scrap metal hosting a surprising amount of biodiversity. Jarman wrote a book about it called Derek Jarman's Garden and filmed The Garden there.
A statement from the artist, Daniel Baker:
“Breaker's Yard has a fascinating history–it was once part of a Tudor garden, then turned into a scrapyard, before eventually being reclaimed as a community garden; so when I was offered the opportunity to lead a project here related to the Platinum Jubilee, I immediately thought of Derek Jarman's garden at Prospect Cottage, Dungeness, Kent ...The Platinum Garden takes the Platinum Jubilee as a context for reflection, renewal and change-borrowing planting ideas from Jarman's garden, whilst providing a haven for wildlife, and providing visual interest through the year.”
Referencing the site's history, the Platinum Garden utilises discarded car parts in its decoration. The plants have interpretive displays that share their stories, which apply a queer ecological reading, including references to queer culture and history. Each display is designed like a page from one of Jarman's books.
Lead artist: Daniel Baker
Consultancy and Interpretation design: Sixto-Juan Zavala (Queer Botany)
Horticultural advlce: Alyson Hamilton and Clair Battaglino
With special thanks to: Keilah Boyd; Lizzie Tear; Kat Buchanan, Charlene Sandy, Karen Raingold
Supported by Arts Council England and the East End Community Foundation through the Let's Create Platinum Jubilee Fund.