Abi Aldridge-Apaza is a South London based artist who works with a variety of media. Her background in studying Art and Architecture influences her holistic approach to artistic practice.
For this exhibition, she is exploring the healing power of nature against a highly urban city setting through a mixed-media relief sculpture.
In an age where the climate crisis and mental health are becoming major concerns, green spaces are more important than ever. This is especially true in densely populated cities such as London. In the borough of Lewisham for example, many people have limited access to green spaces; where they do, these are usually public parks or shared spaces.
Understanding and appreciating green spaces is important, it is an antidote to the destruction of man-made chaos. Having access to a personal green space means that one can manipulate nature and engage with it in a more intimate, physical way, choosing what to sow, grow and nurture over time.
In Abi’s words: ‘Psychology says that even so much as an image can relax a person. And the reality is nature can go far beyond that. Things like the act of planting and growing, engaging with nature, have multiple healing effects on people’s wellbeing and lives. I want to make an art-work responding to that, including my personal experiences of healing mental illness with nature’.
Inspired by her own encounters with nature in both ancient cultural settings and local green spaces, Abi was struck by the environmental healing qualities that plants can possess. Through her research, she came across Edward O. Wilson’s idea of ‘Biophilia’, whereby a person has an ‘innate affiliation with nature’.
The relief is an exploration of that idea, featuring an interwoven collection of natural and man-made materials, seen or found in the Lewisham area. Biophilia II acts as an ode to the power and resilience of nature.