Westgate Oxford to host interactive climate art installation this Easter

Mar 20 2023

An interactive climate art project, initially trialled at the UK’s biggest contemporary print fair (pictured above), is coming to Westgate Oxford from 1st – 16th April. The installation, called Swarm, has been commissioned to bring alive the importance of bees in our world and inspire the public to take small positive actions to protect them.


The 10-metre-long artwork will be formed of 700 black and yellow, individually screen-printed, hand-folded origami fortune tellers that represent a swarm of bees. Bees are a significant symbol of the ecological decline facing our planet and are at risk of habitat loss, climate change, exposure to toxic pesticides and disease.


Swarm has been created by the award-winning artist Leonie Bradley in collaboration with Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair. It draws on research and insight from scientists at the School of Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience at the University of Bristol to help us engage more deeply with the natural world.


Between 3rd – 10th April (excluding Easter Sunday), every guest coming to Westgate Oxford will be able to visit a free bee-themed gallery, fold their own origami bee and make a simple pledge to grow bee-friendly plants and trees around the places where we all live and work.


All the bees made at the workshop will be used to build a second Swarm installation in the Oxford-based shopping centre. Art students from local schools will also be actively involved in the public gallery, helping the organisers to inspire guests to ‘make a bee and make a pledge’ for the project.


Brendan Hattam, Centre Director at Westgate Oxford, commented “We are thrilled to be hosting the Swarm installation over the Easter period. With sustainability at the forefront of everyone’s minds, we know that our guests are on the lookout for ways to be more climate conscious.


“Partnering with Leonie and Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair is one way we can help the local community to take creative climate action. We encourage guests of all ages to visit the installation and to make a pledge to help protect the bees in our community.”


Leonie Bradley, the artist behind Swarm, said “Everyone remembers making fortune tellers as a child. It’s a playful way to talk about the ecological crisis and to bring people together to discover simple ways to help the bees.”


Matt Bell, the Chair of Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair added “Art is fundamental to tackling the climate crisis because it helps you see the world differently. This project is designed to take art out of the gallery into a fabulous shopping destination where we can invite people to do something fun, creative, and important for the planet. Few things change the world like art can.”


Swarm will be at Leiden Square in Westgate Oxford from 1st-16th April, with free bee-making workshops running 3rd -10th April, excluding Easter Sunday.  For more information, visit https://westgateoxford.co.uk/



Images: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/a33ypzd34akn3ix/AABZS4srwYh9SlfO2sb7yFSia?dl=0