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24 May 2023

Sufra Community Commission

Good news! The artist Sean Roy Parker (known as Roy) has won the final Community Commission from the 2022 Brent Biennial.

This commission is in partnership with Sufra Foodbank and Kitchen. Roy was selected by the staff and community there.

Sean Roy Parker wears a muddy shirt with flowers in the breast pocket. He is in a garden space and holding a large vegetable.

In the Community Commissions, we are exploring how artists can work with groups to address an important desire in their daily lives. The projects are community-led, which means the communities are in the driving seat. They write the brief for the artist and select who they want to work with. 

Over the last six months A’lshah Waheed ran workshops with the Sufra community to make these decisions. The sessions involved members of staff at Sufra’s St Raphael’s Edible Garden, as well as volunteers and residents from the estate.

Together, the group decided to commission a permanent artwork for the site – and selected Roy to create it! 

The artwork

Roy proposed building a Bioregion Activity Centre (BAC). It is a bright and welcoming glasshouse made of reclaimed windows and discarded wood. Similar in size to a typical greenhouse, it will have a periscope at one end and chimes at the other to draw attention. It will be a focal point in the east end of the garden.

The glasshouse will hold many unusual second-hand tools. They might be things for looking, like binoculars or magnifying glasses. Or perhaps you will get creative with flower presses and natural inks. 

Made with the community

Roy will work with the community to co-create the installation, including coming up with interactive activities. Through these activities garden visitors will be encouraged to get curious and explore the non-human life in the garden, such as birds, wild plants and even microbes in the compost.

Roy hopes the BAC can help the community to ask the following questions: 

“What happens when we start actively noticing the other lifeforms that we share space with? How does connecting with our nonhuman neighbours affect our senses of place and self? Who speaks when we are silent? Who lives happily under our feet? Can we look up when we feel down? How do plants express feelings? How does waste become compost?” 

We can’t wait to see the commission take shape. Come back for updates as it gets built!

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