Ruth Barker

Bromeliad (Commissioned Memorial)

West Wing, Botanic Gardens, Glasgow
Bromeliad Bromeliad Bromeliad Bromeliad Bromeliad Bromeliad Bromeliad Bromeliad Bromeliad Bromeliad

Permanent Work 


Commissioning Agent: Glasgow City Council.

Site: West Wing Glasshouse, Botanic Gardens, Glasgow.

Description: Public Memorial to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, commissioned to mark the re-opening of the restored West Wing of the Botanic Gardens. The work comprises a text-piece composed by the artist within the Gardens and permanently installed within the West Wing. The text is in the form of a 10 couplet poem, with each couplet cast into one of 10 Jesmonite blocks sited in sequence throughout the two houses of the West Wing. The letters are indented into the Jesmonite so as to encourage plant growth and algae pigmentation within the letters themselves. It is intended that the work will become increasingly overgrown and hidden as the new botanic collection within the glasshouse becomes established, embedding the text within the space.

The work is preceeded in the space by a dedication panel, screen-printed onto glass, which describes the background to the work, and commemorates its official opening by The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay. 

Materials: Jesmonite resin. With many thanks to technician Jim Lambert.

Duration: Permanent work.


Text Reads:


Our dreams are as bright as your lions,

Those golden beasts in tapestries of thought


These are the figures indistinct in memory

So fragile that distraction falls and shatters


We are bromeliad, idea, those pretty Meta

Morphoses in epoch, thought, and distance 


These are the places I have never been,

To see the carp lie deep in summer pools


We are a draught upturned, dun reservoir

Of growth to hold deep heaven in a cup


These are the sounds no breeze does bear;

Dim burr over gorse which the grouse hear


We are the form of architectural gold and line

To drink down life to still clear pools of heart


These are the songs lying out on the paving

Saddles of infinity, hares across the grass


We are vessels cupped to time and growing

As we turn this span of age toward the strata


Night, among the butresses of giants; the civic

Embers of a structure burnt and moved away.