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David Oluwale Memorial Garden

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May 2017

David Oluwale was a British Nigerian who drowned in the River Aire in Leeds, in 1969. The Memorial Association promotes knowledge and understanding of the life and death of David, and campaigns for social justice, diversity equality and inclusion. The charity approached Group Ginger to establish a memorial garden. Our approach was to focus the positive themes of inclusion, diversity and equality by establishing an open Kitchen garden.

This project establishes an idea of a home for David, one that he never had. The listed wall on the site is all that remains of a former warehouse. It is the remains of something that once existed. The wall is of historic value and is consequently protected. In another life the wall could have belonged to a grand house, a stately home, David’s home? All that now remains is the folly of that mythical house. Much like the ruins of grand houses it is the remains of the kitchen that are left behind with the hearth still partially intact and the area for the kitchens garden still evident.

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David’s Kitchen garden brings back to life an uninhabited no-place. It reclaims this part of the city to become an open house, a common kitchen garden available to everyone. It secures part of the city to provide a shared space for eating, socializing and meeting. Within the walls, on raised ground there are three dining tables with bench seating all around. This is a space where David’s extended family would meet, prepare food and share their troubles and moments of happiness. The lush edible garden is full of plants from Nigeria David’s homeland, and from other places from around the world to reflect the richness and diversity of David’s kin.

David’s home is surrounded by the city when once his mythical stately home was surrounded by its extensive and beautiful grounds, South of the river with the prosperous city to the North. David’s estate grounds are to be reclaimed as the Future City Park. David’s Home will establish a connection, with a place which belongs to us and to which we belong. Everyone is welcome.

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