'The Green Man' is most commonly represented as a face surrounded by leaves, or with vegetation sprouting from the nose, mouth and head. Sometimes the face is composed entirely from leaves and foliage. Green Men are used as decorative architectural features, usually representing fertility and the regenerative cycle of the seasons.

I am interested in reinterpreting ‘The Green Man’ as symbol of the city of Stoke-on-Trent at this point in time; a motif that not only represents a sense of regeneration and renewal but one that could also be used to bring about changes, by highlighting what is effectively public artwork that already exists.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Steeling Skies Sheffield- The Green Man of Woolley Wood and Concord Park

I am taking the Green Man project to Concorde Park, Shiregreen, Sheffield at the Weekend (Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd August) for the Rednile curated 'Steeling Skies' art celebration event, which aims to draw attention to this large beautiful park on residents doorstep and to encourage families to enjoy their surroundings and join in new activities. Read more about the project here

Double-click on flyer to enlarge and print a copy

A 'Green Man' creature will emerge from Woolley Wood to interact with the public in Concord Park. The Green Man will become the embodiment of the woodland and park site, by constructing an outfit for a performer to wear made from foliage, flowers, weeds and debris found in the local area. The creature will reference the ancient woodland site whilst instigating responses about the current state of the park and possible future visions for the area.

The history of the symbol of The Green Man suggests he takes on many forms. Interpretations of him as a protective deity of forests and woodlands are relevant to ideas of conservation and heritage of the woodland. Like the park, this figure is steeped in ancient history with roots evident in the earliest belief systems. He is also Multicultural; appearing throughout many religions, in different forms, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, paganism to name a few. It has been suggested that he is archetypal; understood by all. The Character will also aim to emphasise mans interdependence with trees – suggesting the importance of trees both in the in the modern world, with growing environmental awareness, and further back time when they were a source of shelter, furniture, and heating. Also, on a more local level, they were used for making the charcoal that fuelled the steel industry.

The work will be based around the idea of 'sightings' and the development of a ‘myth’. This elusive and enigmatic character will wander the park and surrounding areas throughout the weekend. The public will be encouraged to ‘spot’ this creature, mirroring wildlife spotters and ‘twitchers’ who visit the woodland. The performance will also offer a participatory element where the public will be invited to add foliage to The Green Man.

The character is intended to allow the public explore and consider their surroundings and highlight the importance of green spaces and natural habitats within the city environment, with emphasis of the ancient woodland ‘Woolley Wood’. It could also become a tool to bring about positive changes to the park – i.e. how much better would he look without rubbish on him? as littering is a widespread issue, highlighted in Woolley Wood management plan. It will also link to natural history of the park by conjuring the idea that this creature originates further back in time, an ancient inhabitant that has witnessed the woodland and the previous park landscape

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