We’d love you to join us for the launch of Spiky Black, a collaboration between artists Alison Carlier & Amanda Loomes this Wednesday 14 June between 5pm and 7pm.  The work is being hosted as part of NetPark, the world’s first digital art park in Chalkwell Park and offers a transformative audio layer to the experience of Chalkwell Park Rose Garden.


The Rose Garden has provided pleasure to many generations and has been the pride of Southend, as evidenced in historic postcards. It continues to be rooted in nostalgia, a repository for memories despite changing fashions and diminishing resources. The gardeners that tend the roses are of a generation that grew up as punks and now imagine naming a rose Spiky Black in memory of their youth.

In the meantime the UK rose industry survives with passionate breeders and mass produced roses like ‘Mum in a Million’. The artists explore the interface between the park and an internally visualised experience shaped by association. As you listen, Spiky Black shifts register from the pragmatic and informative to the poetic, through the effective use of language sourced from rose catalogues, punk bands, horticultural terminology, memorial benches and first person interviews.

Chalkwell Park Rose Garden has been one of the finest Rosaries in the country and its proud history has been recorded by Jim Sanctuary, president of Leigh Horticultural Society alongside the story of the celebrated local Rosarian, Walter Easlea (Easlea’s Golden Rambler, 1927).   Jim has provided valuable expertise and insight to Carlier and Loomes throughout the project and in an exciting development Leigh Horticultural Society have sponsored the replanting of one of the rose beds with Royal William roses and to re-introduce the Easlea’s Golden Rambler into the park.

The project has also part-supported the renewal of three signs for the Rose Garden, with additional costs being met by Southend Borough Council.  These smart new signs provide up to date information about the planted roses and highlight the presence of the artwork and how to access it.

Join us for refreshments at Chalkwell Hall, pick up an iPad to take a walk in the Rose Garden and experience this compelling new work…