A secret garden in the heart of a city becomes a space for rediscovering and celebrating the joy and freedom of childhood play, in a new commission which brings together the talents of award-winning artists Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan. The artists say they want to create a place which enables people’s imaginations to run away, and the Orangery gardens, a tranquil green space surrounding a listed building, which is rarely open to the public, proves the ideal setting for them to explore both the idea of play and visitors’ fond memories of playing.
Commissioned for the Orangery by the arts charity Beam, their installation, Swing It! offers a unique experience in the city centre, encouraging creativity and inspiration. Swing It! includes bespoke vividly coloured and patterned swings and moving seats at ground level. The momentum of these seats and swings, combined with specially-made mechanical handles, and the power of the wind, work to make bright signs and banners move overhead. These eye-catching hand-painted signs can be seen at street level and feature words and phrases which recall people’s memories and experiences of “play”.
Myerscough and Morgan, who collaborate as part of the creative collective Supergroup London, recently won multiple awards for the creation of the Movement café, in Greenwich, London, for which they teamed up with writer Lemn Sissay, as part of a series of artist commissions to coincide with the 2012 Olympic Games. They invite all passers-by to come and join in, recollect, create and be inspired at Swing It! Throughout the summer there will be an ongoing programme of cultural events at the Orangery, including the Secret Garden Outdoor Cinema and a regular Friday night Music and Food Collisions with guest appearances by musicians and invited street food vendors from the region.
Beam’s creative director, Robert Powell said: “It’s fantastic to welcome artists of Morag and Luke’s international reputation to Wakefield and The Orangery as part of Beam’s ‘Playful City’ arts commissioning and learning programme. We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to The Orangery this summer to enjoy the ‘Swing It!’ installation alongside a host of other creative events and activities.”
Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan: Swing It! 11 July – 30 September (Tuesday to Saturday, 11am-4pm) The Orangery, Back Lane, Wakefield WF1 2TG.
1. The Pavilion, credit Gareth Gardner.