Skip to main content

Heavy Gardening

Sparrow sculpture Heavy Gardening Something and Son

Heavy Gardening is a trail of seven artworks, running from Wood Street along the Baltic Corridor to Wapping Dock, produced by internationally renowned artist Andrew Merritt of Something & Son, in partnership with dot-art, Open Eye Gallery and First Take, as part of Liverpool City Council’s Urban GreenUP, project which seeks to raise awareness about the future predicted impacts of climate change.

Andrew has transformed seven small pieces of public infrastructure and human engineering to make them useful habitats for other species. The artwork installed on the exterior of FACT, on Fleet Street, is entitled The Sparrows Nest, also known as Venting Your Sorrows. The sculpture transforms FACT's vent ducting system into a monolithic shape. Some claim it is a living relic from a time when humanity started to try and undo its wrongs, others say that it is simply a home for sparrows, that like to nest in colonies.

The title, Heavy Gardening, is based on the idea that humanity, in light of the Earth’s huge loss of biodiversity, needs to scale up and reevaluate the existing things we have at our disposal, making them of use to other species as well - a billboard becomes a roost for bats and air ducting a home for sparrows. Expanding upon the religious roadside shrines found around the world, the trail of seven sculptures acts as a little pilgrimage, where the venerated are not Gods or people, but offer us the chance to remember and give thanks to some of the other species that call Earth home.

Alongside the artworks, dot-art has worked with local communities to produce seven short films, accessed by QR codes at each site. These will highlight various aspects of the project, showcase nature-based artworks made by community groups and encourage local people to see the benefits of greening their environment.

The sculptures were made in collaboration with Local Works Studio and Dewi Uridge and will be launched on LightNight on Friday 21 May 2021.

The URBAN Greenup project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 730426.