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Water Portals

by Henry Driver

Water Portals: Hidden to our eyes in the depths of Diss Mere, is a microscopic world of wonder, that contains both the present and the past. An unseen ecosystem that we rely upon filled with billions of microorganisms such as zooplankton, phytoplankton, and bacteria. I want to bring these to life for audiences. The project will communicate elements of the Royal Holloway Research, exploring historic climatic events, as well as encouraging conversations on a sustainable future. I plan to create four steel sculptures based upon what’s found in the mere, such as microscopic diatom, pollen, and charcoal remains. The fourth sculpture’s design will be based on the outcomes of the community project. The sculptures will feature intricate cutout sections inspired by the microscopic structures.

These will be backed by coloured glass or transparent coloured acrylic. Each sculpture will act as digital portal into the microscopic world. They will have a QR code that when scanned with a mobile device takes audiences to a 360-degree video that explores the inspiration behind each sculpture. These visually striking odysseys will allow audiences to discover this underwater ecosystem and it histories, and through accessible storytelling uncover the importance of the mere.


My aim is to create artworks which connect us to our environment, as well as address the climate crisis by presenting achievable responses to this. Coming from a farming family, I have witnessed the effects of climate change, as they ravage harvests. It was from experiencing this, that in 2019 I decided to solely focus on the environment, specialising in revealing the importance of microscopic worlds. For the past two years, I worked with leading plant science researchers from the John Innes Centre to provide inspiration and support.

Since 2013, I have shown in Australia, Denmark, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, India, Japan, Portugal, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey, as well as at Tate Liverpool, Tate Britain & Barbican. I was published in the XL Catlin Guide 2016 this guide brings together arts next big names (Dazed & Confused Magazine). I was shortlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2016. I was selected by leading curators, as one of the top 15 young artists working in the UK for the Kleinwort Hambros Emerging Artist Prize 2019.

Key works include a major public sculpture commissioned by Essex County Council, and an interactive digital artwork, commissioned by BBC Arts and Arts Council England, for New Creatives. Secrets of Soil is an interactive journey that explores the hidden world of soil and its role in combating climate change. Your journey will take you to a microscopic world, witnessing the essential life forms that live there.

MA & BA in Fine Art from Norwich University of the Arts.

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