Arctic Poppy Chronicles

Cape Farewell presents:

The Arctic Poppy Chronicles by Michèle Noach

An exhibition of lenticulars at the gallery at the Botanic Garden

May 17th to July 14th

The gallery is open daily, during normal Botanic Garden opening hours.


Michèle Noach has travelled twice to the Arctic with Cape Farewell on art & science expeditions, and again on several research trips. The Far North and its unique Arctic Poppy have captivated and intrigued her, and both were the seeds of her 3-year artist residency at the Eden Project in Cornwall. Here she had privileged access to Eden's great reservoir of botanical expertise and completed her investigations into the Arctic Poppy (Papaver radicatum).

West Greenland and Svalbard (from where Michèle harvested the original seeds) are undergoing a great thaw in snow and ice with rising temperatures. Her idea was to examine the Arctic Poppy's adaptive capabilities in a rapidly warming environment by attempting to grow them in the moderate climate of Cornwall; an intriguing process that lead to a unique collaboration between Michèle as artist and Ian Martin as scientist, in his role as Eden horticulturist and seed specialist of semi-arid and arid regions (the Arctic being classified as a desert due to its lack of precipitation).

Together they grew, researched and observed the poppies over the 3 years. The outcome of this work is a cycle of 7 lenticular (optical 3D) displays, images that morph as the viewer shifts from one position to another. The images reflect what they both saw and learnt about the poppies' progress. Conversations of misunderstandings, hopes for the poppies, disappointing scientific results and a developing friendship between artist and scientist are brought together in the book Poppyflakes, published to coincide with this project, and which is an epistolary study in collaboration.

Michèle Noach developed The Arctic Poppy Chronicles within her artist residency as part of the ‘Slow Art Project’, established by Cape Farewell in collaboration with the Eden Project.  

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