The Garden at Newfields will turn tropical this summer with Century Garden, an installation of five colorful vignettes by ceramic artist Anders Herwald Ruhwald. 2020 marks the 100-year-anniversary of the gardens surrounding Lilly House, which were designed by Percival Gallagher of the famed Olmsted Brothers firm. Ruhwald’s installation will investigate this history by interrupting the European-style design of the historic landscape with ceramic sculptures and striking tropical and native plant arrangements.
Ruhwald has described himself as a “form-giver: an artist who thinks through the language of form and space.” He believes objects accumulate meaning with their surroundings, and encourages the viewers to interpret the work within its environment. He collaborated with the Newfields horticulture team to integrate his sculptures with an arrangement of native regional plants, along with plants and flowers from Central and South America, Asia, and Africa.
These unconventional species thrive in the mid- and late-summer climate of Central Indiana, but aren’t typically associated with historic, Eurocentric gardens of this type. Ruhwald’s vibrant vignettes become a foil for the garden’s formality, celebrating its evolution from private residential use to a public garden enjoyed by local, national, and international visitors.