Artemis of the Lea

Fertility Fountain #1: ARTEMIS OF THE LEA

A multi-breasted riverine mother goddess, Artemis of the Lea is festooned with brightly coloured, curvaceous vessels. This sculptural installation combines hard-edged lines with voluptuous forms, and recalls the muscular yet feminine strength of ancient fertility deities.

Throughout summer 2019, a host of East London allotmenteers experimented with the use of urine to boost their vegetable growth. When topped up with water, urine is an excellent nitrogen-rich fertiliser – seven times more potent than manure.

Artemis of the Lea’s coloured vessels have been designed to function as both watering cans and portable urinals. At the exhibition’s end, these purpose-made urns were distributed for ongoing use as allotment holders continue to nourish their crops with home-made fertiliser.

Water networks are often thought of as the infrastructure of supply and sewerage, yet solutions can operate from the scale of the individual to that of the landscape. This project resurrects connections with the environment, celebrates water infrastructure and elevates human bodily waste as a natural and precious resource.

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A collaboration with Dr. Tse-Hui Teh and Dr. Lena Ciric at UCL. Commissioned as part of Trellis, a UCL Culture and UCL East programme funded by the EPSRC.