Caught by the River

Invasion Ecology

30th May 2024

Opening this Saturday at Southcombe Barn on Dartmoor, ‘Invasion Ecology’ is a group exhibition that adopts decolonial, land-based inquiry to begin rethinking our relation to place and landscape, with contributions from artists including Ingrid Pollard, Iman Datoo, Hanna Tuulikki, Ashish Ghadiali, Fern Leigh Albert and Ashanti Hare.

Presented by Radical Ecology and Southcombe Barn, the programme interrogates the notion of Invasion Ecology — a term first coined by Charles Elton in his 1958 study ‘The ecology of invasions by animals and plants’ which initiated the thinking around native and invasive species which has since become mainstream.

Works span installation, performance, moving image and photography. By casting a long lens on history – back to the formation of continents – and focusing on the exploitation and displacement of plants and people, the programme seeks to challenge the ‘othering’ of species by deconstructing binary distinctions between terms such as ‘native’ and ‘invasive’.

The opening of the exhibition coincides with the opening of Southcombe gardens to the public as part of the National Garden Scheme.

Decolonial discussion and workshops will take place throughout the duration of the shows from exhibiting artists as well as authors, gardeners and foragers. Ashanti Hare brings their sell-out ‘River That Never Rests’ performance to a live environment as ‘River That Never Rests: Iteration II’ on Southcombe’s grounds. Conceived around the River Exe, Hare performs as a sentient river which becomes ‘the watcher who connects the physical with documented histories of Exeter and the wider south west; other worlds; the many oral histories of global majority people and wildlife that travel to and through it’. A participatory performance developed by Radical Ecology will look at how and why the language of native and invasive species in our gardens became so pervasive. This performance will tour arts venues across Devon and Cornwall.

The ‘Invasion Ecology’ exhibition runs at Southcombe Barn until August. Find visiting information here.