Closing Ritual at Hayward Gallery

Closing Ritual

Hayward Gallery, London

30 August 2023

Hayward Gallery and Gaia Art Foundation celebrated Dear Earth: Art in a Time of Hope and Crisis with an evening of interactive performances and conversations.

Cherry Truluck 'Out of Time'. Image Credit: Pete Woodhead.

The intention behind Closing Ritual was to spark enduring dialogue among climate activists, artists, art professionals and the public, focusing on the role art can play in addressing the climate emergency.

Performances and Discussions included:

5.45pm: Culinary performance by Cherry Truluck
The evening starts with Out of Time, an artistic culinary performance by Cherry Truluck. Under the Super Blue Moon, this glimpse of Truluck's The Animist Almanac research explores oat cultivation and temporal rhythms in farming. The project collaborates with biologists, chefs, farmers and printmakers, highlighting the dialogue between food, body and land.

6.15pm: Welcome from Rachel Thomas and Cornelia Parker
Rachel Thomas, Chief Curator of the Hayward Gallery, opens the evening in the company of Dear Earth exhibiting artist Cornelia Parker. Together, they delve into art and the role of empathy in channelling emotional responses to drive action and awareness around the crisis.

6.45pm: Artist Heather Ackroyd in conversation with Helene Schulze, Destiny 'Beau' Boka-Batesa and Julian Lahai-Taylor
The evening continues around Agnes Denes' iconic Living Pyramid, with a conversation between artist Heather Ackroyd (Ackroyd & Harvey) and three dedicated environmental activists:

Helene Schulze, the driving force behind London Freedom Seed Bank, is at the forefront of building an urban seed commons. Her collective provides climate-resilient seeds grown in London, fostering biodiversity through accessible distribution.

Destiny 'Beau' Boka-Batesa, co-founder of Choked Up, directs their passion towards raising awareness about the critical intersection of air pollution and environmental racism.

Julian Lahai-Taylor from Grow Lewisham leads a collective on a mission to enhance access to local land, cultivate organic produce, and revitalise depleted soil.

Rooted in environmental activist Vandana Shiva’s call to reclaim 'the commons', this conversation focuses on the intersections of art and activism, and reconnection to nature.

7.30pm: Performance by Love Ssega
Following the conversation, multidisciplinary artist Love Ssega presents a new sound and movement-based performance, titled The Chapters of Hope. Specially commissioned for the Dear Earth Closing Ritual, this performance offers an exploration of the necessity for hope, transformation, and resilience during times of ecological crisis. The Chapters of Hope continues the artistic questioning initiated by the exhibition, created in the midst of a climate emergency, to inspire both urgency but also optimism in a continuation of Love Ssega’s practice.

8pm: Alice Aedy is in conversation with Andy Holden, Cher Potter and Cliodhna Murphy
Alice Aedy, Co-Founder and CEO of Earthrise, leads this panel focusing on the need for storytelling and collaboration across sectors to tackle the climate crisis. She is joined by Hauser & Wirth’s Global Head of Environmental Sustainability Cliodhna Murphy, artist Andy Holden and Cher Potter, the Curatorial Director of Future Observatory at the Design Museum.

8.40pm: 20-minute mindfulness session inspired by Agnes Denes’ Living Pyramid with Ellen Mara De Wachter
The evening concluded with a meditative yoga nidra, or yogic sleep, experience led by writer and yoga teacher Ellen Mara De Wachter. This meditation invites you to embrace a moment of collective presence, self-reflection and connection. We invite you to revisit this serene experience through this recording to enjoy in your own space.