A programme of art, culture and new infrastructure to reimagine the future of the UK’s biggest council housing estate


Uriel Orlow

Botanical Becontree


Uriel Orlow engaged with the Becontree Estate through the prism of the garden as both a physical and metaphorical space of cultivation, cohabitation, undergrowth, seeding and colonisation. The artist responded to a commissioned botanical survey that charts the characteristics and conditions of the flora in Becontree. The project looked at the garden as a more or less controlled and layered microcosm that can tell us a lot about our relationship to the world.

Growing spaces have been central to the history of the area. Before Becontree was developed in the 1920s and 30s most of the land was market gardens and until now gardens and green spaces form an integral part of Becontree. Through the speculative project Uriel embarked on a multi-species conversation with plants and people on the estate.

Uriel Orlow’s multi-disciplinary practice includes film, photography, drawing, sound and writing. He is known for single screen film works, lecture performances and multi-media installations that take specific locations and events as starting points and bring together different image-regimes and narrative modes into dialogue. Uriel’s work is concerned with residues of colonialism, spatial and physical manifestations of memory, blind spots of representation and plants as political actors.

Commissioned by Create London, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.