Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Roerich Garden Project // Projet Jardin Roerich

Sprout Out Loud! is an on-growing gardener's ensemble that seeks to support and develop the relationship between residents and the land around them.

Our current project — the Roerich Garden — is a site-specific earthwork located in the Maguire Meadow, one of the last undeveloped pieces of land in the Plateau Mont Royal. Owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the meadow is used and cherished by the community because it is a free and unregulated space (in practice). No need to ask for permission to grow things there, create art, or gather around a campfire.

Although the plans are not finalized, the field and some neighboring residences and businesses may be sacrificed in the process of developing this land. Work is slated to begin in 2009-2010. There is talk of extending St-Viateur further east as part of the city's 9M$ makeover for the Maguire district in the Mile End.

The Roerich Symbol brings together the idea of nature and culture and is the cultural equivalent of the Red Cross. Russian artist, mystic, and peace activist Nicholas Roerich developed it to become an internationally recognized symbol to protect historical, cultural, and scientifically valuable monuments. Intended to prevent aerial bombing in WWII Europe, it was installed on rooftops of museums, churches and universities. The three centre circles within this symbol are found in primordial cultures worldwide and represent the interconnected nature of life.

This project seeks to:
  • Engage with the meadow creatively and document how people use and care about this space
  • Valorize this living space before it is forgotten in silence
  • Draw attention to the city's plans and provoke dialogue
  • Reclaim the commons, activate unused urban spaces, re-enchant oneself with the natural world and living systems of the urban core
  • Invite others to plant similar ideas in their own environments where needed
Learn more about the Roerich Garden: