The art of the wetlands

Leytonstone artist Silvia Krupinska explains how water inspires her work

Silvia Krupinska

Silvia Krupinska at Studio Hide, her Walthamstow Wetlands-inspired art installation. Credit: Marta Pinilla

Where does our water come from before we turn on the tap? I decided to investigate and explore this during my two-year course in art and science at University of the Arts London.

I have been a Londoner for the last eighteen years. It has been great for me, I love the city. But what I love even more is the nature, where I get most of my inspiration from.

I have had my art studio in Archway for nearly two years. On my daily commute sitting in a London Overground train, I always wonder what the large ‘waterscapes’ spreading out between Blackhorse Road and South Tottenham stations are.

I soon discovered that the shining reservoirs are what will soon be called Walthamstow Wetlands, and which is presently the largest fishery in London. It turned out to be so captivating for me, that I turned it into my final Master of Arts (MA) project. It became my outdoor art studio and exploration laboratory at the same time.

I have been studying the place for nearly a year now. Each time I go there, I learn and discover something new. As an art practitioner originating from Slovakia, I had the need to ground my work, my explorations of nature, near where I lived. I began a self-initiated art and research residency at Walthamstow Wetlands, which will officially open next year as a nature reserve run by London Wildlife Trust.

When I go there, I buy a daily birdwatchers’ permit, carry a pair of binoculars, camera, and small dictaphone. Each device helps me to get to know the place better. Over the past few months, I have collated a visual, material and audio archive of things I have come across and events that grabbed me. To mention a few, these have been cormorants diving for fish too big to swallow, a young swan sitting in her impeccable nest, a blue kingfisher flying over Coppermill Stream, and a lone pheasant marching beside me.

I have also created a series of outdoor temporary installations there, which were recently exhibited with my collections and documentations from Walthamstow Wetlands during my university’s degree show. I have also presented my Studio Hide installation, a place somewhere between an art studio and a birdwatcher’s hide, transplanted to an urban setting. All materials and images contained within either originate from the wetlands or are recycled. I do not see it as the final stop, but a humble beginning.

Studio Hide is a proposal for a live laboratory in a new or an existing hide in Walthamstow Wetlands. I would like it to become a resource not only for me, but also for a wide community of local artists and those interested in getting to know the place where their tap water comes from. After all, Walthamstow reservoirs store and supply water to 30 percent of London’s households. I think it is an ideal place to get to know local nature.


See more of Silvia’s artwork:

Visit www.silviakrupinska.net

Tweet @silviakrupinska

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