Edge Effects

  • A composite image of a child

    From left to right: Drawing by Jaden Year 4, Vicarage Primary School. Drawing session and an (Almost) Ikebana arrangement photographed by Johanna Tagada Hoffbeck, 2023.

Free entry

30 Jan - 26 May 2024

Gallery 4

Monday Closed
Tuesday 11am–6pm
Wednesday 11am–6pm
Thursday 11am–9pm
Friday 11am–6pm
Saturday 11am–6pm
Sunday 11am–6pm

Please note on 6-7 Mar, Zineb Sedira Presents will be moved to the Zilkha Auditorium.

Copy of Johanna Billing

Exhibition Booklet

PDF to be printed A3 and folded

Edge Effects

Edge Effects is a participatory project that takes inspiration from nature to shape an ongoing series of artist residencies with primary and secondary schools in Newham, East London.

It borrows its title from an ecological phenomenon that occurs in the space where the tree line of a forest meets a field, or land meets water. This natural convergence creates an area of unique biodiversity where overlapping communities become all the richer for their mutual interactions.

Workshops in school gardens and classrooms have adopted a slow approach, guided by principles of permaculture to observe and interact. Activities included looking closely at trees and absorbing the histories of herbs to create light-touch responses through drawing, words and weaving.

As urgent as it is timeless, Edge Effects is a project about our stewardship of the planet and promotion of a mindful understanding of our place in nature. In taking time to observe a leaf, to listen and learn from its stories, we ask: might anoak tree or a sprig of rosemary impart their valuable wisdom if we look for long enough?

Lead artist Johanna Tagada Hoffbeck, featuring contributions by writer and gardener Sonya Patel Ellis and artist Sam Ayre. Project led by curator and artist Kirsty Lowry in collaboration with teachers and students from Vicarage Primary School and Plashet School in Newham, East London.


Johanna Tagada Hoffbeck

Johanna Tagada Hoffbeck (b.1990, France) is a painter, transdisciplinary artist and cultural practitioner based in rural Oxfordshire.

Her practice, composed of painting, drawing, installation, sculpture, film, photography, writing, participatory projects, horticulture, publishing and workshops, renders caring, positive and ecological messages in soft and delicate methods. Interaction with the environment and others is central to much of the artist’s work.

Recent solo exhibitions include Dreaming about Tomorrow at Nidi Gallery. Recent group exhibitions include One Foot in The Sky at Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer and New Nature at Paterson Zevi.

Johanna founded the collaborative cultural deep-ecology-informed initiatives Poetic Pastel Press and The Gardening Drawing Club. She co-founded the publication series Journal du Thé – Contemporary Tea Culture.

Sonya Patel Ellis

Sonya Patel Ellis (b.1973, UK) is a London-based nature and gardens writer and editor, artist, and Senior Content Creator for BBC Gardeners’ World magazine.

Authored books include Collins Botanical Bible (William Collins, 2018), The Heritage Herbal (British Library Publications, 2020), Collins Backyard Birdwatcher’s Bible (William Collins, 2021), The Modern Gardener (Harper Collins, 2022), and The Herb Book (DK Living, 2023).

She has worked with numerous schools and groups in Newham, East London, using gardening and nature-inspired writing and art to inspire next generations to think creatively, observe and connect with the natural world, develop future-proofed green corridors, and promote biodiversity, wellbeing, and community.

Sam Ayre

Sam Ayre (b.1986, UK) is an artist based in rural East Sussex who creates handmade homewares using inherited tools, materials and skills passed down from his late grandad. Each piece is made from reclaimed and salvaged wood, sourced through conversations as an act of building community. Alongside their studio practice they specialise in participatory projects, creatively engaging groups of people in exploring their opinions, ideas and emotions, encouraging radical imagining, embracing tangents, conviviality and mistake-making.

They have delivered commissions for Turner Contemporary, De La Warr Pavilion, Towner, Tate Modern, Freelands Foundation, Art Night London and National Gallery amongst others and is currently artist in residence at West Dean College and Ark Schools.