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• Saatchi Gallery commissions multi-disciplinary artist Zak Ové for its annual garden at Chelsea Flower Show 2024
• Open to the public at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, 21-25 May 2024
• Featuring Ové’s Invisible Man sculptures, the garden will invite visitors to explore a Black Diasporic journey. Three distinct sections take influence from Africa, the Caribbean and the UK

LONDON, UK – Saatchi Gallery announces its 2024 RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden with British-Caribbean artist Zak Ové.

Titled Abeba Esse, the garden will depict a Black Diasporic journey, from Africa to the Caribbean, and ultimately the UK. Visitors will be led down a path through changing landscapes, encountering Ové’s Invisible Man sculptures along their journey. The African section reflects the idea of ‘Paradise Found’, which Ové describes as, “An autochthonous verdant, jungle scene, where plant life grows untamed in a raw and natural state.” Yet here, visitors will incongruously encounter a rocket ship sculpture, which takes influence from Afrofuturism, and invites the question ‘what is happening here?’

Moving into the Caribbean, visitors will see a change in the native lush flora and fauna of the islands to that of tilled earth with planted crops, typical of slave plantations. The gateway is marked by a change in the path – from the dark soil of the African jungle, to wooden planks that reference the slave ships that carried many through the infamous Middle Passage.

Finally, they will reach a quintessential English garden, featuring the kinds of plants found in stately homes and country houses, indicative of the power and wealth accrued in the UK through slavery. Throughout the garden, botanical labels record the names of historical figures, institutions and corporations who benefited from investments in slavery.

The garden, designed in collaboration with award-winning garden designer Dave Green, encourages important conversations about the themes central to Ové’s work – the African Diaspora, contemporary multiculturalism, globalisation, and the blend of politics, tradition, race, and history that informs our identities. Ové stresses that revealing and heralding the histories and skills of those that were rendered invisible is an important part of writing an inclusive history. He comments, “History can and should be accessed in different ways, so as to engage a variety of audiences, and educate and inform through unexpected mediums such as a flower garden.”

Its name – Abeba Esse – is derived from two palindromic words. Abeba – from Ethiopian, meaning flower and Esse – essences, the essential nature of something. Palindromes are read the same backwards as forwards – and that continuous movement is something that is echoed in Ové’s artwork, through time travel and the readdressing of the past to the present and the future.

Reflecting on his hopes for what visitors will take away from the garden, Ové says: “History is alive and with us every day, the past is the food on our table and the roof over our head. How we got where we are is often obfuscated by the way in which history may have been told. Here visitors have journeyed with the Diaspora and joined together with the sculptures to examine a past that has remained hidden yet beneath our very feet.”

Dave Green is an RHS Gold award-winning garden designer. With over ten years of experience working with the RHS, he specialises in creating beautifully tranquil escapes with an exceptional eye for detail.

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RHS Chelsea Flower Show: 21-25 May 2024
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Zak Ové (b. 1966, London. Lives and works in Las Palmas, Canary Islands) is a British-Caribbean artist with a multi-disciplinary practice across sculpture, film and photography. His work is informed in part through the history and lore carried through the African Diaspora to the Caribbean, Britain and beyond with particular focus on traditions of masking and masquerade as a tool of self emancipation. Ové’s artworks explore the interplay between old world mythology and what he posits as ‘potential futures’, a space where he reinterprets existence into the fantastical. Ové uses modern materials, a sound clash of Caribbean and African colour and the reinvention and appropriation of everyday objects to bring his characters and scenarios to life. His work is a celebration of the power of play, the spirit of imagination in the blurring of edges between reality and possibility, flesh and spirit. In this way, Ové seeks to re-write a history for the future through heralding the past in a new light.

Dave Green Gardens is a gold medal-winning garden and landscape design practise based in the Midlands. The practise focuses on working to create calm, tranquil and beautiful escapes for discerning in-dividuals with exceptional attention to detail and quality
Instagram: @davegreen00
Twitter: @davegreen00
Facebook: @davegreengardens

Since 1985, Saatchi Gallery has provided an innovative platform for contemporary art. Exhibitions have presented works by largely unseen young artists, or by international artists whose work has been rarely or never exhibited in the UK. This approach has made the Gallery one of the most recognised names in contemporary art. Since moving to its current 70,000 square feet space in the Duke of York’s Headquarters in Chelsea, London, the Gallery has welcomed over 10 million visitors. The Gallery hosts over 5,000 schools visits annually and has over 6 million followers on social media. In 2019 Saatchi Gallery became a charity, beginning a new chapter in its history.

For more information visit
Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 4RY
Saatchi Gallery Registered Charity No. 1182328

Since our formation in 1804, the RHS has grown into the UK’s leading gardening charity, touching the lives of millions of people. Perhaps the secret to our longevity is that we’ve never stood still. In the last decade alone we’ve taken on the largest hands-on project the RHS has ever tackled by opening the new RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford, Greater Manchester, and invested in the science that underpins all our work by building RHS Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science.
We have committed to being net positive for nature and people by 2030. We are also committed to being truly inclusive and to reflect all the communities of the UK.
Across our five RHS gardens we welcome more than three million visitors each year to enjoy over 34,000 different cultivated plants. Events such as the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show, other national shows, our schools and community work, and partnerships such as Britain in Bloom, all spread the shared joy of gardening to wide-reaching audiences.
Throughout it all we’ve held true to our charitable core – to encourage and improve the science, art and practice of horticulture – to share the love of gardening and the positive benefits it brings.

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