Moonlit Snowdrops, Majestic Clumps, and Poetic Reflections: JC Niala’s legacy artwork unveiled

Earth Trust celebrated a milestone in its Artist in Residence programme this week, with the unveiling of JC Niala’s captivating legacy artwork.

Over the past three months, Oxford-based artist JC Niala has been immersed in the breathtaking landscapes of Earth Trust, gathering inspiration and stories from the community. The result is ‘Watching the Light Come In’, a stunning collection of prints on silk and cotton that capture the play of light, texture and colour in the natural world, interwoven with poetry inspired by conversations and reflections from the Earth Trust community.

“It’s been a journey of discovery, collaboration and trust,” said JC. “I wanted the collaborative legacy artwork to be a collage of our work so that at the end it would be difficult to tell whose hand had made what, but together we made something beautiful.”

In a nod to her East African heritage, JC chose to print her image of the Clumps on a light cotton based on ‘kanga’ – a traditional Swahili cloth which is described as ‘the cloth that unites’ because its history brings together people from Africa, Asia and Europe.

“I wanted to make an artwork that reflected my heritage and showed how much I care about Earth Trust – a place that brings people together regardless of who they are or where they come from,” JC explains.

JC Niala, Artist in Residence Jan-Mar 2024

JC’s print in cotton of Wittenham Clumps

Guests at the private view event

JC’s collaborative print artwork on silk

Mini catalogue featuring JC’s moonlit snowdrop print

The unveiling of the legacy artwork, which took place on 16th April, was attended by guests from Earth Trust’s community, including volunteers, supporters and participants from the art workshops which JC delivered during her residency. The event was a moment of celebration and reflection, as attendees came together to honour the magic that happens when art, nature and shared experiences intertwine, and the profound impact it has on our lives.

“We are thrilled to make JC’s artwork a permanent part of Earth Trust’s story,” said Jayne Manley, Earth Trust CEO. “Her pieces, with their unique blend of visual beauty and poetic insight, are a testament to the importance of our mission – to inspire people to explore, appreciate and take action for the precious natural world around us.”

“JC has enabled us to understand that art is not just about what you see, it’s about what you feel, you hear and how you pull all these things together, and how a place can inspire a community,” she added.

JC with Amy Rowland (left) and Jayne Manley (right)

The legacy artwork will be showcased in Earth Trust’s Welcome Hub, to spark curiosity, conversation and introspection among visitors. The public is invited to view the installation and immerse themselves in the fusion of art, nature, and community voices at upcoming events like the Spring Festival on 4th May.

“The works JC has produced not only enrich our physical space but also serve as a catalyst for meaningful conversations about the fragility of our natural environment, and our collective responsibility to nurture it,” said Amy Rowland, Public Programming Manager at Earth Trust.

“Creating this collaborative artwork has been a magical experience, stitching people together through time and space,” reflected JC Niala.

“The running theme throughout my residency at Earth Trust has been people always being able to see the bright side, and how learning through nature allows us to have hope for tomorrow,” she continued.

To learn more about JC Niala’s residency journey and artwork, visit artist-in-residence.