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Acton Town Underground station cultivated garden features in new pocket Tube map artwork

A new piece of artwork that features a collage of cultivated gardens on the London Underground including Acton Town is now on the latest pocket Tube map.

The collage by artist and photographer Joy Gregory was inspired by more than 100 years of cultivated gardens on London’s transport network.

Ms Gregory took inspiration for her map cover from TfL’s annual staff gardening competition ‘In Bloom’, which recognises staff for cultivating gardens in unlikely station environments and visited and photographed gardens across the TfL network.

Earlier this year, Acton Town station won best Cultivated Station Garden in the competition and Ms Gregory visited the Tube station to photograph it for inclusion in her artwork.

Acton Town. Photo: TfL
Acton Town. Photo: TfL

The artwork is the 39th piece commissioned by Art on the Underground to be featured on the cover of a pocket Tube map.

Joy Gregory, ‘A Little Slice of Paradise’, 2023. Commissioned by Art on the Underground. Photo Benedict Johnson
Joy Gregory, ‘A Little Slice of Paradise’, 2023. Commissioned by Art on the Underground. Photo: Benedict Johnson

Ms Gregory’s pocket Tube map cover pays tribute to the London Underground staff that bring gardens to stations.

A Little Slice of Paradise uses the cyanotype technique showcasing digitally collaged photographs of flowers including camellias, dahlias and nasturtiums in station gardens.

Cyanotype is a 19th century Victorian photographic technique that captures the imprint of an object laid on top of light-sensitive photographic paper in blue hues and without the use of a camera and was used by women photographers to document botanical objects at a time when women were discouraged from engaging with the sciences.

Ms Gregory said: “The most beautiful and rewarding part of working on this commission was seeing the positive impact these gardens had on the lives of people using the transportation system, as well as the pleasure it conveyed to the creators of these enchanting spaces and their colleagues.”

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, said: “Our Tube stations are not just transport hubs, they are icons of design and each one has something that makes it special. Cultivated gardens on London’s transport network are part of that rich tapestry and I want to thank artist Joy Gregory for merging past and present floral designs in the new pocket Tube map cover.

Ms Simons added: “It is a wonderful daily reminder for all of us who travel on the Tube network of the effort and dedication TfL staff have put into maintaining these magnificent gardens. Thank you for making our commute more enjoyable, helping us build a greener and better London for all.”

Eleanor Pinfield, TfL’s head of Art on the Underground said: “Gregory has turned a spotlight on a fascinating part of TfL’s history and a vibrant part of its contemporary life. Bringing the botanical to the front of the pocket Tube map, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year is a fitting tribute to TfL staff who nurture plants year-round. This new artwork is a poignant reminder of the care that staff bring to the spaces we use every day as we travel.”

Ms Gregory has also recently been been announced as the winner of the Freeland Award 2023. The award enables organisations to feature an exhibition by a mid-career woman artist who may not yet have received the acclaim or public recognition that her work deserves. East London’s Whitechapel Gallery will stage Gregory’s first monographic exhibition in Autumn 2025. Art on the Underground will also be unveiling a new series of artworks by Ms Gregory, an extension of her pocket Tube map commission, at Heathrow Terminal 4 Underground station in June 2024.

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