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Following the Breath

Show materials used to make art work

Join us inside the Conservatory with artist Sam Winston, who uses drawing and breathing to explore the relationship between air quality, environmental issues and mindful creative practice.

It was a simple question – how many plants does one person need to breathe? 

Artist Sam Winston wanted to explore how much vegetation it would take for one human to live in an airtight room. How could he illustrate our reciprocal relationship with plants? 

For millennia, artists have moved questions out of their heads and into their hands. Putting pen to page invites the hand (and body) into the thinking process, letting intuition in. Drawing and breathwork engage our nervous system to reconnect us to our bodies, fostering a deep sense of rest and wellbeing.

Join artist Sam Winston in the Conservatory to find surprising inks made from air particulates, contribute to a growing participatory art piece, and experience a new way of interacting with plants.

Following the Breath was originally commissioned and displayed in the Barbican Conservatory in January 2022. Commissioned by Barbican Creative Learning; supported by Wellcome

Take Part: Drawing and Breathing

The climate crises and global pandemic have made us acutely aware of the air around us. You are invited to explore the air we breathe and where it comes from by making your own ink drawing. Visit the Conservatory during residency opening hours, pick up a postcard from a member of staff, watch the film to learn about Sam’s process, and listen to the audio, which will guide you through the activity. Amongst the calm of the plants, take a moment to draw, reflect, and breathe. 

You are advised to bring your own headphones and a smartphone to access the audio. There will be a small number of headphones and devices available if you are unable to use your own. Headphones are sanitised before each use. 

Take Part: Audio Guide

Artwork by Sam Winston using natural materials as ink

Take Part: Audio Guide

Listen to Sam Winston guiding you through the activity. Amongst the calm of the plants, take a moment to draw, reflect, and breathe. 

Please listen to this audio inside the Conservatory.

Families at the Barbican

Accessible, fun and inspiring activities for the whole family to enjoy across the Barbican

Watch: Following the Breath

Watch: Following The Breath

Watch the film to find out more about Sam Winston’s process for creating Following the Breath.


With Thanks To...

Wellcome logo

Following the Breath is supported by Wellcome