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Putting down roots at Packington

Posted on 17 October 2019

The completion of Islington's Packington estate regeneration on Friday 5 October was marked with the planting of a palm tree.

Working closely with our development team, Hyde Foundation commissioned arts organisation AiR, in partnership with community play company Awesome CiC to manage PACK_ITON, an eighteen-month arts programme in collaboration with residents of all ages.

Sarah Willis, Successful Places Programme Manager of Hyde Foundation said: ‘Working closely with local people enables a greater sense of belonging and increase in community cohesion and is the foundation of regeneration.”

Residents were involved at every stage in workshops, community open mic nights, making temporary mobile artworks and creating a pop-up art space. The Packington Producers chose the final piece - an installation by London-based artist Dmitri Galitzine.

‘I Can Believe in Things Which are True’, is a Chilean Wine Palm (Jubaea Chilensis), transplanted from Valparaiso, Chile, with a short text on a bronze plaque alongside. The tree was one of a number planted in the early part of the twentieth century following a major earthquake. The tree was saved from being chopped down for development and was shipped across the ocean to await a new home in Spain over five years ago.

The Packington Producers said the palm tree was: ‘A landmark representing our journeys to Packington and how we are putting down roots here as a permanent community’.

Dawn Jarrett, formerly of Awesome CiC, said: ‘This is the best bit of public art ever!’

Anna Hart, founder of AiR, said: 'The response to the tree is joyful – residents and passers-by look up with both wonder and incongruous familiarity – a very small child passing was overheard casually saying to her friend ‘what a lovely palm tree!’ – what other tree might a four-year-old know the name of? Another resident said ‘wonderful, it feels like it’s been here for ever!’

'After years of disruption and noise, where every piece of material and every home is new, the tree’s majestic presence has a calm, grounding presence. Dmitri has made an extraordinary work for an extraordinary community in the centre of our crazy city. We thank the Packington residents, and the Packington Producers, for their insight, creativity and collaboration.'

The project was supported by London Borough of Islington Greenspaces who will be looking after the tree moving forward.