Living Soil, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
John Hope Gateway, Scotland 2/10/23 – 28/5/23
A celebration of the life beneath our feet, exploring our relationship with soil, the people who care for it, and the food production systems that rely on it.
Over a four-month residency at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Taylor has connected with a wide variety of staff and volunteers who care for our soil, from plant health scientists to community gardeners. She brings together her extensive research in this exhibition, making visible the vitality of soil not only through paintings, photographs and workshops, but also DNA analysis, poetic plates and a well-travelled cape.
Soil, not dirt! ‘Soil is one of the most underrated and little understood wonders on our fragile planet.’ Professor Bridget Emmett, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
Soil is a complex web of billions of organisms working in symbiosis to sustain life on Earth. It is made up of minerals, water, nutrients and oxygen, amongst other things. Soil is alive and buzzing with microorganisms invisible to the naked eye, as well as larger invertebrates such as ants and spiders.
Soil matters ‘A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.’ President Franklin D Roosevelt, 26 February 1937
Soil provides us with 95% of the food we consume. Healthy soil cleans and stores water, combatting flooding and drought. It is also a vital carbon sink, with the top metre containing twice as much carbon as all the vegetation growing on it, including trees. Yet, soil is endangered by deforestation and industrial agriculture. Taylor’s exhibition asks us to value our buried treasure.
All photographs by Lynsey Wilson