PEACE GARDEN // UNIVERSITY OF SAMOA APIA // SAMOA // 2011
The Peace Garden project was conceived by working with the University of Samoa and Coral Reef Academy. The Samoa's nationalist movement, the Mau, Women's International League For Peace and Freedom had previously created a garden in 1995 but over the past six years this had been turned into a rubbish dump. The artist choose to rejuvenate this site to honour the historical role of the Women’s International league. The artist aimed to, in collaboration with the three agencies, develop a site specific space to help restore energy and healing whilst promoting personal and environmental transformation by turning the rubbish site into a peace garden through the powers of collaboration and social practice methodologies. Involving the four departments of the University of Samoa, Horticulture, Textiles, Music and Performing Arts and the Coral Reef Academy to create an inclusive living artwork featuring the indigenous medicine plants of Samoa. To grow a space of healing and peace to establish harmony and rest on the University Of Samoa campus. Finding simple personal ceremonies to activate sacred space for self and nature.
The students addressed the important issue of natural resource, recycling and environmental consciousness.The horticulture department with the help of Samoa Ministry of Natural Resources and Environments kindly donated native plants, many if which contained medicinal properties. Aided by their creative landscape designs the students brought to life different sections of fruiting plants, Mediterranean pacific groves, medicinal plants alongside rainforest and floral areas. The Textiles department injected colour into the garden through the making of prayer flags, individualising them with fabric flowers in between the prayers. The prayers were all written by the students bringing colour and words to the garden in order to bless the space. The music and performing arts department brought sound and movement to the garden. With the music classes embodying the notion of peace and harmony by using a blend of traditional and contemporary music. This utilised sound and tonal aspects of peace for self discovery, with the students writing a series of poems around what peace means to them. The performing arts students choreographing their own movement and dance piece in accordance to their own relationships to the word peace activating the garden as a living theatre.