Loose Tomatoes in the Back Yard – A Review by Jillian Mendoza

Artwork by Holly White, photo by Eoin Carey GI 2024.

Child-like wonder, limitless artistic potential and the power of community – Loose Tomatoes in the Backyard is a charming portrait of Rumpus Room and its collaborators. At the entrance the visitor is welcomed with a sign spread along the top of the gates saying “Community”, created by Holly White with help from Slaghammers.

Young Artists ExhibItion, Photo by Eoin Carey GI 2024

Beside the entrance of the yard, the shed is turned into a gallery of artworks done by various groups of children & young people who are part of Rumpus Room, such as Rumpus Queer Makers, Yard Club kids and the Young Artists’ Committee. There is also a quilt made by Mathilde N’Doye in collaboration with others. A small zine library is installed inside the space, adding on to its unique charm and comforting atmosphere!

Artwork by Nadia Rossi, Photo by Eoin Carey GI 2024

Next, we discover a compilation of field recordings and music led by Nadia Rossi and children. By scanning the QR code and exploring the space, the visitor will already sense the ambition that Rumpus Room boldly undertakes. You can listen to the compilation via the bandcamp link here.

Artwork by Huss Mitha, Photo by Eoin Carey GI 2024

The vinyl mural spearheaded by Huss Mitha alongside young children and the community is also a sight to behold. It is a piece of artistic freedom and abstraction that successfully compliments the yard’s surroundings and has been growing over the course of the show as people continue to add to it.

Artwork by Angel Walker, Photo by Eoin Carey GI 24

Angel Walker’s work involves the bells of Mag Mell in Bitu, made out of rough clay that is glazed and hung up. They also were responsible, along with Ardis Önnerfors at Rumpus, for leading weekly sessions at the garden club, growing various fruits and vegetables including strawberries, kale, spinach and radish with the local community.

Holly White’s flower hand bed windchimes which compliment the flowerbeds are beautifully made and designed, and they certainly emphasise the garden’s green aesthetic. 

As a committee member and frequent studio goer, it was lovely to see all the work come together for the first opening evening on a bright summer’s day. Freshly made lemonade, watermelon juice and chai were generously offered to visitors alongside a stall that sold various prints and a CD of the field recordings, in which the sales were donated to Medical Aid for Palestine. Helping out at the stalls and seeing everyone enjoying the show was pleasantly wholesome!

Collective ribbon cutting at the opening event, Photo by RR
Opening event, photo by RR
Loose Tomatoes Map & Artwork by Saffa Khan, Photo by RR

In terms of setting, the overall design of the yard was easy to navigate and accessible, taking advantage of the outdoors with a plethora of content that was at the same time, not overly excessive.  A gorgeous riso-printed hand out created by Saffa Khan which included their written work ‘Lemon Glow’ was also shared, helping visitors to explore the yard.

Rumpus Room achieved greatly for this year’s Glasgow International Festival, because not only did they showcase brilliant presentation and creativity of its members, collaborators and fellow neighbours, but they also managed to share its ethos of community, collaboration and expression. I will certainly look forward to what awaits Rumpus in future collaborative art shows!

This review was written by Jillian Mendoza who is part of the RR Young Artist Committee.

Loose Tomatoes In The Backyard is a show for Glasgow International Festival of Contemporary Art bringing together artists, writers and organisers Saffa Khan, Hussein Mitha, Nadia Rossi, Angel Walker, and Holly White. Their work is created in collaboration with children and the wider community at Rumpus Room. The artist group spent time at the Rumpus Garden Club during the spring, working outdoors together with children to cultivate, build, write, make – becoming caretakers of the garden. Loose Tomatoes In The Backyard responds to all things that happen in the Rumpus yard and the people, plants, ideas, and communities that grow from it.