Brighton’s ONCA Gallery will be full of trees this month to mark the launch of 100, a group exhibition and wider project featuring 100 artworks, all inspired by trees.

For this exhibition, ONCA poses the question – with trees rapidly disappearing, what role can artists play in their survival?

The work of 100 selected artists and young people will fill the gallery, from Thu 19 June to Sun 6 July, for a total of 100 hours. Artworks will form an artistic forest within the gallery’s walls, and through sales of the work as well as partnerships with local businesses, schools and residents, funds will be raised to plant 100 trees along London Road in Brighton.

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, praised the venture: “Art can hugely impact how we view our surroundings. I think this exhibition is a fantastic opportunity for us to pause and reflect upon our city and our place in it – and to see it through other people’s eyes. How brilliant that, through this venture, we can also help physically plant new life into one of the busiest roads in Brighton, to be enjoyed for years to come.”

Everyone can get involved in helping ONCA to raise the £100 needed for each tree being planted. You could sponsor a tree, whether as a business, school, local resident or friend. You could buy one of the artworks in the exhibition, each of which will be priced at £100. £50 goes to the artist and £50 will be put towards the tree planting scheme.

ONCA aims for each tree planted to represent a partnership between an artist, the person buying an artwork and a local contributor. A trio of guardians, helping to restore environmental degradation through art.

To mark the occasion, the first of the 100 trees included in ONCA’s long term plans to acquire and plant many more trees as part of the London Road regeneration scheme for the Valley Gardens area, will be planted outside the gallery on Saturday 21 June at 10am with members of the public.

ONCA is working in association with the Sussex charity, Earth Restoration Service, to conduct community planting activities, such as the event on Thu 21 June, for the 100 trees in this project.

Andreas Kornevall, writer, environmentalist and Director of Operations at Earth Restoration Service said: “The ERS charity is excited to be partnering with ONCA on this project. Planting trees connects you to a hopeful future, a possible future, and that is why every tree planting event should include a good party – thank you ONCA for providing this and helping to fill the streets with the life affirming gifts from the trees.”

The ONCA Gallery is home to The ONCA Trust, and provides an inner-city hub for art, ecology and education. Unique in the UK, ONCA runs exhibitions, workshops and performances that ask questions, tell stories and initiate conversations about environmental change, whilst raising awareness for frontline conservation projects.

100 is guest curated by Dan Howard-Birt, Curator of artistic programmes at Kent based arts organisation Stour Valley Arts, and features a range of work in all media, including sculpture, ink drawings, paintings, ceramics, photography and video. Many of these works have been produced by local young people at Carlton Hill Primary School, Dorothy Stringer School and Brighton Youth Centre, alongside that of professional artists.

The ONCA Gallery website exhibition page

The 100 exhibition runs at The ONCA Gallery on Thu 19 June – Sun 6 July.

Image by Helen Goodwin