20 October 2012

The Mother Project

Cities have often been compared with living organisms. [...] However, we would do well to remember that the city does not actually heal or regenerate itself; it relies on the eactive agents (people, policy-makers) within that organism to provoke change.
- London (Re)Generation
David Littlefield

Julie Sumner can be described as a strong woman with a tender care for helpless creatures, weather plants, the elderly or children. She was a member of the maternity committee, making sure mothers and their babies would be treated well during childbirth, and when the olympics knocked on her allotment door, she was the first to stand up for the community.

She described the allotments as a space where her daughter could paint her imagination. She often tells stories of how her daughter learned how to ride her bike there, play with other kids and plant her own vegetables and flowers.

The olympics pulled out her allotment and with it the growing relationship with her only daughter. They destroyed the community and polluted the soil.

Then Julie decided to do something. In the quiet after the storm, she decides to start regenerating a better future for her daughter and she does that in the way she knows best: planting and nurturing.

Using the soil-healing properties of thistle, Julie and her daughter leave fields of legacy; the interior of their vessel a collage of mother-daughter memories. As they brush through the olympic park, planting and growing their relationship, they begin to paint the imagination back into the Lea Valley.


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