Arts Council England funding secured for new Kitchen Garden art

We’re excited to announce that we have secured Arts Council England funding for two new family-focused art projects, centred around the Chiswick House Kitchen Garden and inspired by the theme of food.

Launching later this summer, the new projects build on our existing creative programme, and will encompass:

  • A sensory, nature-centric Kitchen Garden Trail
  • A co-designed, co-constructed long table, built and decorated by participants from local community groups and members of the public and positioned within the Kitchen Garden itself.

The trail and table will enhance and complement CHGT’s wider programme of active engagement and collaboration with its local community, including its ongoing Black Chiswick though History programme and its work with charities and support groups in the surrounding area.

The new art projects will be family-focused, inspired by the theme of ‘food’, and centred in the Chiswick House Kitchen Garden

Flower Feast: Exploring the circle of life in the Kitchen Garden

A nature-centric garden trail and map, designed by artist and storyteller Jaixia Blue, will encourage visitors to get in touch with the idea that the food we grow and enjoy, as well as the act of eating itself, is an integral part of the natural world.

Children and adults will be able to engage with insect life in the garden by creating ‘Flower Feasts’ for various species, learning about the importance of pollinators and promoting biodiversity when it comes to food production.

Alongside encouraging children to discover the garden’s resident insects, the project will focus on sensory immersion and mental wellbeing, helping participants connect with the sounds and smells of the garden.

Jaixia’s previous work has encompassed textile art, music, film and poetry mediums, and explores themes surrounding her dual British and Caribbean heritage.

Artist Jaixia Blue, whose previous work has encompassed textile art, music, film and poetry mediums

Jaixia Blue said:

“I am delighted to be designing this year’s creative garden trail kit and map for Chiswick House & Garden Trust. The trail explores the idea of food in a broader sense, drawing on the circle of life in the garden. The aim is to encourage visitors to be mindful, engaging all 5 senses through observing the nature around them. As well as encouraging creative learning surrounding the garden’s rich biodiversity; shifting how we view insects and flora and their roles in our ecosystem.”

‘More than just furniture’: Harvesting Connection: A Communal Table will embody our need for unity and sharing

Born in Chiswick, London-based artist Ayesha Weekes has been working with CHGT on the ongoing Black Chiswick through History programme since 2021. Supported by English Heritage’s Shout Out Loud, Black Chiswick through History aims to foreground diverse stories from the history of the House and Gardens and offer a fresh perspective on these.

Artworks created by Ayesha within Chiswick House, as part of the Black Chiswick through History programme

For her new project, titled Harvesting Connection: A Communal Table, Ayesha is focusing on the creation of a Kitchen Garden long table, constructed through reclaimed, environmentally-friendly materials, and decorated with handcrafted ceramics.

The aim is to create a striking yet functional piece that will spark community engagement and embody themes of nourishment, unity and togetherness.

Ayesha is a visual artist who specialises in ceramics, as well as an arts educator and advisor.

Ayesha Weekes said:

“Embodying ‘Food’ and ‘Harvesting Connections,’ we are excited to bring a new long table for Chiswick House Kitchen Gardens. In collaboration with Kitchen Gardeners and community partners, this table will reflect our connections to food through reclaimed materials and ceramics.

“More than just furniture, this table will celebrate the Kitchen Garden and be a gathering point to explore, learn and share food and our food stories, symbolising community, unity, sustainability, and the rich tapestry of stories woven through our shared love of food.”

Xanthe Arvanitakis, Director of Chiswick House and Gardens Trust, said:

“We are delighted to have secured generous Arts Council Funding for two important new creative projects, exploring food and its links to our culture, wellbeing, identities, and community.

“In the Chiswick House Kitchen Garden, we produce food in a way that is sustainable and environmentally friendly, working with local volunteers to ensure that half of everything we grow is donated back to our local community. Conversations surrounding food production, and how to redefine our relationship with it, are integral to everything we do.

“We excited to be working with Ayesha and Jaixia on this project and are looking forward to seeing their creative visions turn to reality later this summer.”

  • The Kitchen Garden Trail will launch on Friday August 2.
  • The Long Table final construction day and launch is on Friday August 16