The Black Apotheca
The Black Apotheca

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The Black Apotheca

Drawn in by his fragrant tea concoction, we spent a meditative quarter-of-an-hour with artist Jacques Nimki at Ikon in Birmingham, drawing dried flowers, ‘or weeds’ as Nimki described the local vegetation that he has dried and pressed for his The Black Apotheca project.

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Based on the Black Country Voyages narrowboat, Nimki has explored the canals and waterways of the Black Country to discover overlooked and neglected local plants, which he has collected to turn into tea, or carefully pressed to create art works. Throughout 2015, Nimki has also asked all of the Ikon staff to draw these pressed and dried plants, which he has turned into ‘invisible’ art works around the building. The aim is to encourage staff and visitors to re-discover an already familiar building. 

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Black Country Voyages has also undergone a transformation to become The Black Apotheca - a floating laboratory designed by Nimki, with herbal concoctions derived from local plants, fermenting slowly over time, housed in glass, reflecting light and colour. It showcases drawings, recipes and objects, all relating to the business of apothecaries, plus a collection of lozenges, cordials, country wines, sorbets and teas, at Ikon events around the Black Country. 

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Throughout the summer, there will be workshops and events with Ikon and Black Country Voyages along the canal network -

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