A Lucky Pile of Dirt Becomes Art at The Works

Tegan Bowers, Exhibit Production & Technology Assistant

About seven weeks ago, The Works received a massive pile of dirt. Why would a non-profit arts society need a pile of dirt, you ask? The answer is relatively simple. The artist Suzanna Barlow is completing an exhibit that requires the black gold, as well as potatoes, sunlight, water, and some tender loving care. 

Over the course of the last month and a half, the Production Team’s everyday tasks included shovelling the dirt, moving the dirt, sitting on the dirt, and putting the dirt on the potatoes growing in our yard. That pile of dirt was quite the sight. It sat there like an unassuming lump covered in tarps, until it was uncovered, revealing its filthy beauty. We may have griped and moaned about having to shuffle it around for 5 hours straight, but in the end, this pile of dirt contributed to a great piece of art that will continue to harbour life throughout the Festival. We love you, pile of dirt.

Now on display on Churchill Square, Barlow’s “The Potato Project” is comprised of a series of large potato planters coupled with oversized potato-like beanbag chairs for lounging. See for yourself how a pile of dirt can become a piece of art by visiting The Works Art and Design Festival on Churchill Square (June19 - July 1!)

The Potato Project by Susanna Barlow: In the 50’s through 70’s in Edmonton, it was common practice for homeowners to plant potatoes in a new front lawn. This infused the soil with nutrients for plants to grow in the years ahead. As the front lawn of Edmonton, Churchill Square is the perfect place to collectively nurture some symbolic spuds to prepare for the current and upcoming growth in the culture and infrastructure of Alberta’s Capital city. 

Check out the Festival Guide for more info!