“We are Gardens Haunted by Each Other” by Michael Medeiros



“We are Gardens Haunted by Each Other” exhibition runs through February 9th at 50 Arrow Gallery

EASTHAMPTON, MA – “We are Gardens Haunted by Each Other,” the new exhibition at 50 Arrow Gallery in the Eastworks building, opened quietly on Saturday, December 10, beginning nearly two months of community collaborations in art, words, and garden-centric myth-making facilitated by ceramic artist and poet Michael Medeiros.

The 192nd anniversary of the poet Emily Dickinson’s birth was marked in that space by Medeiros and

painter Johanna Hoogendyk inscribing excerpts from Dickinson’s letters upon fifty-five small moonshaped terracotta vessels. A tribute to Dickinson’s fifty-five years of life, each vessel would be put into a pit firing that evening to smoke the letter excerpts permanently into the clay. The vessels will be used, throughout the duration of this exhibition, to contain letters that will be sent daily all over the world much as Dickinson connected to the outside world amidst her solitude through her own frequent letter


Dickinsonian vessel-writing is just one aspect of the interactive nature of “We are Gardens Haunted by

Each Other.” The foundation pieces in the exhibit are Medeiros’ ceramic vessels and sculptures, largely

made out of locally-dug terracotta clay. Medeiros will be welcoming in collaborators throughout the run,

and the exhibition will organically grow through these interactions.

“I love the opportunity to bring my own ideas into communication with others’, setting off an entirely

unexpected creative chemical reaction that really is one of the main catalysts of my artistic and poetic

practice,” says Medeiros. “It’s so exciting that Jason and Alex at 50 Arrow Gallery are allowing me to run

in this manner, bringing in a bunch of creative voices to expand and give expression to this imagined

world. I find this important because, as one friend pointed out, I wasn’t so much excited about the

debilitating event of this near-future world, but of how human existence manages to continue on in a

semblance of community despite a horrid calamity.”

Exhibit collaborators are asked to share memories of gardens, wildernesses, and specific plants that they

will write about—using liquid clay as the “ink”—directly upon the pottery. Medeiros, who is PortugueseAmerican, then fires the pieces using a traditional pit-firing method similar to that used by Portuguese

potters in the town of Bisalhaes to create jet black terracotta pottery. He found a technique through

trial and error which allows the writing to emerge in the original orange-red terracotta color within the

smoked black background.

Public events—including readings, musical performances, and community art and writing sessions—are

scheduled during Easthampton Arts Walk nights on January 4 and February 3 (the closing night of the


The initial concept for “We are Gardens Haunted by Each Other” was developed by Medeiros and his

former UMass MFA for Poets and Writers colleague Marcella Haddad this past spring for a live reading

at the Allen C. Haskell Public Gardens in Medeiros’s hometown of New Bedford, MA. They conceived a

world in which a debilitating (and unnamed) event had happened, throwing everyday life into chaos.

The “gardens” of the exhibit title refer to the locations of imagined individuals corresponding with each

other and trying to gain a collective understanding of the new state of the natural world, particularly the

human-cultivated aspects of that nature. Much like Dickinson, these post-apocalyptic writers exist

physically in a garden solitude and connect with a larger community through their written


“I spent five years working at the Emily Dickinson Museum, which informed the experiences of my own

imagined character who was living there and chronicling the post-apocalyptic version of her family

gardens,” says Medeiros. “The notion of inhabiting that space in such a cataclysmic new world was the

impetus for this whole project, which has evolved in some excitingly unexpected ways thanks to the

terrific input of friends and colleagues.”

50 Arrow Gallery is located in Suit 244 in the Eastworks Building at 116 Pleasant Street in Easthampton.