The Lost Japanese Gardens of Otley, 27 May 2014

A wealthy landowner, affected with the craze for Japanese gardening, invited the Japanese Ambassador to luncheon, and afterwards ("London Opinion" relates) showed him round the gardens and greenhouses, keeping the Japanese garden till the last as a delightful surprise. When, after admiring the beauty of all the other gardens, the Ambassador was at last taken to the imitation of the gardens of his own flowery land, he held up his hands in enthusiastic delight. "Ah," he exclaimed, "this is wonderful! We have nothing like this in Japan!"
The Yorkshire Evening Post - Wednesday 30 July 1913

Working in collaboration with artist Harold Offeh, The Follies of Youth, a collective of young artists and curators, considered the cultural misconceptions resulting from the UK's historic fascination with Japan. The event will activate the 100-year old site of Otley's Japanese garden, recalling its former spectacle and community, in partnership with Otley Museum, The Japanese Garden Society and Yorkshire Gardens Trust. The programme includes a presentation of archival photographs and talks that highlight the aesthetics of the Japanese garden and its relationship to the Yorkshire landscape. A new composition by sound artist Ryoko Akama will be performed in Otley Parish Church. Offeh's new performance, Japamania, will take place on the site of the garden, bringing to life its different features buried beneath a century of rubble.

Supported by the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society

  • The Lost Japanese Gardens of Otley, 27 May 2014
    event photos by Doug Bowen
  • The Lost Japanese Gardens of Otley, 27 May 2014
  • The Lost Japanese Gardens of Otley, 27 May 2014
  • The Lost Japanese Gardens of Otley, 27 May 2014
  • The Lost Japanese Gardens of Otley, 27 May 2014
    courtesy of Otley Museum