Andrew Rewald

Alchemy Garden

By Biennale of Sydney

22nd Biennale of Sydney: NIRIN

Alchemy Garden Installation ImageBiennale of Sydney

About the artist

Andrew Rewald
Born 1969 in Murgon, Australia 
Lives and works in Northern Rivers, Australia and Berlin, Germany

Alchemy Garden Installation ImageBiennale of Sydney

Alchemy Garden

Andrew Rewald’s Alchemy Garden is an interactive, ever transforming, community-based garden project built using found objects from the National Art School site and inserted new objects. 

Alchemy Garden Installation ImageBiennale of Sydney

The garden is deeply embedded in this location, created through reflecting on its history from pre-invasion Indigenous land use, to cultivation during the era of the Darlinghurst Gaol and through to the present.

​(​Learn more about the site's history​ in this podcast​ with Archivist, Deborah Beck)

The garden also considers interconnected pathways of human and plant migration, and is a direct response to the climate crisis. 

Alchemy Garden Installation ImageBiennale of Sydney

Rewald's project uses ecological design practices such as repurposed building materials, a wicking bed drawing water from a reservoir, vessels filled with bioactive charcoal to filter wastewater, coir logs to control erosion and scalloped landscaping to direct water flow.

Alchemy Garden Installation ImageBiennale of Sydney

In exploring Alchemy Garden, we are asked to reflect on what we can learn from the past to inform new sustainable practices into the future. 

Alchemy Garden Installation ImageBiennale of Sydney

"Native food and medicine plants, such as Sea Fig (Carpobrotus glaucescens), were donated by Yerrabingin, the Indigenous rooftop farm in Eveleigh, for a public planting event for the launch of my Biennale project Alchemy Garden, in September 2019...

Alchemy Garden Installation ImageBiennale of Sydney

... The garden is a space in which both native and non-native ethnobotanicals are considered for their cultural and ecological role, in context with human migrations and the climate crisis."

- Andrew Rewald, NIRIN NGAAY

Alchemy GardenBiennale of Sydney

To explore more, take the Social Tour of Alchemy Garden at the National Art School or learn to make Andrew Rewald's Horta & Mash recipe using locally sourced plants.

Credits: Story

Alchemy Garden, 2019-20
plant matter and repurposed found materials 
Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous assistance from Create NSW
Courtesy the artist

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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