The Collection museum in Lincoln is featuring artwork inspired by a rare historical document in its exhibition The Charter of the Forest.
The exhibition showcases work from over twenty artists, ranging from paintings to sound installations, all inspired by The Charter of the Forest — an important legal document from the 13th century.
“The Charter of the Forest is a medieval document that gave people the right to use common land and forest for food and shelter,” explained gallery curator Maggie Warren.
“There are only two of these documents in the country, and one of them is at Lincoln Castle. It is very relevant today with discussion of forests and ecology worldwide.”
Warren highlighted some of her favourite artworks on show, including an installation by Natalie Gale, describing it as “a bit like a miniature of the whole expiation.
“It brings together different elements of the forest, little bits of fern, bird’s eggs, some abstract paintings, and from that you can make up your own story.”
Another piece she highlighted was Carta de Ausculto, a sound installation by artist Simo Alitalo, which plays natural and urban sounds recorded in Chambers Farm Wood near Wragby.
“You can hear airplanes going over the forest,” Warren detailed. “Nowadays our forests in Britain are very encroached upon. We think we are going back to nature, but nature is encroached upon all the time by 21st century living.”
One of the artists exhibiting was Jacques Nimki, whose work Smotherwood depicts nature using fine, black lines.
“My work really relates to weeds,” Nimki says. “Weeds in urban environments and how we perceive or don’t perceive them. It’s not eco or anything, more about how people perceive themselves.
“Weeds are everywhere, but people don’t notice them. They are in a way more natural than the stuff people go to a garden centre to buy. It’s the nature people don’t really want.”
Nimki added: “There’s an amazing amount of work here, so much variety. So many different ways of exploring the charter — in a social way, in a political way, there are so many avenues you can go down. I think there is a great variety of choice for people.”
Patron Josie Gregory also praised the variety of work: “It’s so interesting to see how the forest means different things to different people. It’s really very wonderful. We didn’t know much about The Charter of the Forest. We have definitely come away more informed.”
The exhibition will be open to the public until September.