Art and Nature: 5x15 Live at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

FLOK 5x15 Nature Arts Square 3
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A unique 5x15 drinks party co-curated with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in the glorious setting of the Orangery, celebrating creativity, imagination and the natural world.

Rachel Campbell-Johnston
Our host

Rachel Campbell-Johnston was the chief art critic of The Times from 2001 to 2021. Before that she was a Times leader writer. She has a lifelong interest in wildlife and farming and lives on a small farm on Exmoor.

Sir Ben Okri

Sir Ben Okri OBE is a poet, novelist, and playwright. His novel, The Famished Road, won the Booker Prize in 1991. His works have been translated into 26 languages. He has been a Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Ben Okri's books have won numerous international prizes. The recipient of many honorary doctorates, he is a vice-president of the English Centre of International PEN and was presented the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum for his outstanding contribution to the Arts and cross-cultural understanding. His book Astonishing the Gods was chosen by the BBC as one of the most influential novels written over the last 300 years. His latest book, Tiger Work: Stories, Essays and Poems About Climate Change, evokes the magic of nature and the urgency of protecting the environment.

Charlotte Jarvis

Charlotte Jarvis, choreographer and dance activist, trained in classical ballet at London Studio centre. She was a contemporary dancer with Ballet Nurnberg, Germany. She teaches ballet, contemporary and Scaravelli inspired yoga throughout UK. Charlotte has performed and collaborated with Ben Okri in India, Italy, Dubai, Scotland and London. Together they weave a new form of theatre dance and poetry. They also staged TS Eliot’s ‘The Wasteland’ at The Marylebone Theatre 2022, which continues to tour. Their company's most recent production, ‘Revolution Earth’, a poetry dance drama about love and climate change, premiered at Marylebone Theatre March 2024. Charlotte continues to raise climate awareness through the embodiment of dance.

Cornelia Parker

Cornelia Parker CBE RA is a leading English sculptor and installation artist who was shortlisted for The Turner Prize in 1997. Parker had major exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney 2019 and at Tate Britain in 2022. She was the first woman artist to undertake The Met Museum’s annual roof commission, creating an installation Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) 2017. The piece was constructed from the timbers of an old red barn, which were transformed into the set of Hitchcock’s film Psycho. The piece was later exhibited in the courtyard of the Royal Academy in 2018. Cornelia Parker’s work features in prominent collections such as MoMA and Metropolitan Museum, New York, the Tate Gallery, the British Council, the Henry Moore Foundation, The Museum of Modern Art in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Yale Centre for British Art.

Lucia Pietroiusti

Lucia Pietroiusti is Head of Ecologies at Serpentine, London. As a curator, programmer and organisational strategist, she works at the intersection of art, ecology and systems, often outside of the exhibition space. Ecologies at Serpentine is a holistic initiative and purpose-led department aimed at embedding environmental responsibility throughout the organisation’s infrastructure, operations, networks and programming. Pietroiusti was the founder of Serpentine’s General Ecology project, and the curator of Sun & Sea (Lithuanian Pavilion, 2019 Venice Biennale and ongoing tour). Together with Filipa Ramos, she is the curator of Songs for the Changing Seasons (Vienna Climate Biennale, 2024); Persones Persons (8th Biennale Gherdeïna, 2022) and The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish. Pietroiusti is also a curator of Back to Earth (Serpentine, 2020-22), and Infinite Ecologies Marathon (2023-24). Recent publications include More-than-Human (with Andrés Jaque and Marina Otero Verzier) and Microhabitable (with Fernando García-Dory).

Marc Quinn

Marc Quinn, born 1964, is an artist whose wide-ranging practice - encompassing sculpture, painting and drawing - is not easily categorised. Although by nature contemporary, his work connects frequently and meaningfully with art history, from modern masters right back to Classical antiquity. At its centre is an exploration of the multifaceted experience of being human. Marc Quinn has exhibited internationally in museums and galleries including Tate, London; Kunstverein, Hannover; Fondazione Prada, Milan; MACRO, Rome; and Fondation Beyeler, Basel. Quinn’s work features in collections around the world, including Tate, London; Metropolitan Museum and Guggenheim, New York; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Arario Museum, Seoul; Fondazione Prada, Milan; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Love Ssega

Love Ssega is a London-born musician, producer and performing artist of Ugandan heritage. Climate activism weaves through his latest work, which has been shown at UN COP26 and New York Times Climate Forward. A previous Artist in Residence with Philharmonia Orchestra, he has also been commissioned by the National Gallery, Hayward Gallery, Serpentine Pavilion and Whitechapel Gallery on site-specific works and had visual work exhibited internationally at MoMA PS1 and MIT Museum. Love Ssega is the founder of arts and community clean air movement LIVE + BREATHE. He is currently an Allianz Foundation Fellow (Berlin), Chair of Shadwell Opera and a Trustee of Brian Eno-led climate charity EarthPercent.

Chris Thorogood

Chris Thorogood is a botanist and lecturer at the University of Oxford, where he holds the position of Deputy Director and Head of Science at Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum, and a Visiting Professor at the University of the Philippines. His research focuses on the evolution of parasitic and carnivorous plants, taxonomic diversity in biodiversity hotspots around the world, and biomimetics - exploring the potential applications of plants in technology. An author and broadcaster, he makes regular appearances on TV and radio and is also an award-winning botanical illustrator and wildlife artist. Obsessed with plants, he is on a mission to make us see them differently, and realize how we, they, and our planet, are all connected. His new book is called Pathless Forest: The Quest to Save the World’s Largest Flowers. It’s an inspirational, mind-bending story of his obsession to protect and save Rafflesia, the vanishingly rare, metre-wide, monstrously beautiful, stinking ‘corpse flowers’ that have captured his imagination since his childhood.

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