Armistice Exhibition Enshrines Memory of Lost Gardeners

  • 1st Nov 2018

This November, The Lost Gardens of Heligan will bring to a close its four-year-long programme of Arts events commemorating The Gardeners of Heligan House and their service for King and Country during World War 1.  ‘In Their Name’ will reach a moving and visually stunning finale as Heligan unveils a trio of exquisite art works especially commissioned from acclaimed South African artist, Lize Krüger. These unique pieces will be displayed at the heart of The Gardens first discovered by Tim Smit and John Nelson back in 1990.

 ‘In Their Name: Don’t come here to sleep or to Slumber’ is a collection of three stunning artworks all brimming with deep symbolism and meaning;  portraying the inter-relationship between the garden and its men and conveying  the resilience of the garden, its gardeners and soldiers.

“Before Heligan came into my life I was a bit like the Garden - Lost. My introduction to the grounds from Alex Smit excited me and I immediately experienced a deep connection with all that is and was Heligan. Its story and invisible mystery captured me and it felt like a homecoming.

Because I could relate to the history and human story on quite a few levels, my fear of not being able to present an authentic celebration of the men’s lives diminished.  

The commitment and process forced me out of my own almost 10 year ‘sleep and slumber’.

During the creation of these three works I moved in and out of the drama as spectator and participant simultaneously. Heligan dictates and I am enchanted…." - Lize Kruger

This emotive and complex subject has been exquisitely captured by Lize, using a meticulous method of layering decorated transparent panels, each with their own meaning and symbolism and brought to life with the clever use of light. The three pieces commemorate ‘The Lost Ones’, ‘The Forgotten Ones’ and ‘Heligan’, with its unique and healing life force.  Together, they create an overall feeling of enchantment, sacredness and an ethereal quality.

Lize collected raw garden material to create the backdrop to each work.   Symbolic butterflies, robins and bees flit through the panels; a soldier/gardener stands ethereally amidst the glory of his workplace. Lize’s art is made of the garden, from the garden and deeply connected to the garden, with its history and healing spirit shining through the backlit layers.

‘In 1914, 23 men worked in the Gardens at Heligan. By 1917 their number was reduced to just 8. We know that 13 enlisted in World War 1 and only four returned. Behind these figures is concealed so much personal tragedy.  Lize’s 18 month lock-in has given exquisite, haunting, beautiful expression to the losses of the past that have cast such a long shadow, and created a jewel-like cathedral within their historic workplace to inspire the future.’- Candy Smit

This finale project beautifully marks the end of the Heligan’s centenary commemorations and celebrates the circle of life and death and rebirth. In the words of Tim Smit ‘It tells an old story in a new way’.

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