The People’s Forest: The Fairlop Oak

Artist Gayle Chong Kwan’s new participatory sculpture The People’s Forest: The Fairlop Oak will be installed in the centre of the lawn outside the William Morris Gallery. Participants will explore techniques of tree management to construct miniature structures, which will be attached to the end of a branch and inserted into the trunk of the tree which ‘grows’ as people contribute to the work. The final sculpture will be installed in the foyer of the Barbican in October 2017, as an extended eleven metre sculpture, with further exhibitions of The People’s Forest at William Morris Gallery, and The View, Epping Forest, in 2018.

The People’s Forest is a major new contemporary visual art project bwhich explores the history, politics, and people of London’s ancient woodland, Epping Forest, described by Queen Victoria as ‘The People’s Forest’.  Through two years of research and running creative participatory activities, Chong Kwan is developing a significant new body of work, which considers the forest as a site of shared resources and competing claims, as a liminal space between rural and urban, tensions between capital and common, as well examining local issues and the impact of globalisation on communities.


The project is funded by William Morris Gallery, Barbican, and public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England with additional support from Waltham Forest and The View, Epping Forest.