Walking through the beautiful Leigh Woods I came across an eerily magical sight. Boats, peeking out through the trees, as if they were sailing across an earthen sea.
The boats are an art installation by Luke Jerram, titled Withdrawn. Placed in the National Trust managed Leigh Woods in Bristol, the installation has themes of climate change, extreme weather and over fishing. The boats look like they could have been washed up, or stranded in an evaporated lake, so they really do bring to mind climate change.
However I also think there is something wonderfully whimsical, surreal and fantasy like about the installation. The juxtaposition of the fishing boats with the woodland creates something strangely beautiful, like some kind of waking dream.
As soon as I heard that this installation would be on display, I desperately wanted to go-after all, I am The Forest Mermaid, so boats in a forest sounded like something I would love. I'd never been to Leigh Woods before though, and so it took quite a while to find Withdrawn-although we walked through some stunningly beautiful woodland, which I'll save for another post. Eventually, as the sun was starting to set, my boyfriend said we'd have to turn back in five minutes so that we could make it out of the woods before nightfall. I was distraught that we might have walked all this way to miss the very thing we had come to see. Then, turning a corner, we saw the boats in the distance. I was so happy! The setting sun made the boats glow in the light. It was worth the long walk.
The installation is in place until September, so I'm hoping to get at least one more visit in before then, especially as I know the way now! I'd like to visit at a different time of day or even at night. With an installation like this, where the environment is so much a part of it, I think it's also interesting to see the effect the seasons have on the look and feel of the piece.
You can find out more about Withdrawn and see some really amazing photos here-http://lukejerram.com/withdrawn/