GENE MEME art installation



GENE MEME – An art installation in aid of Street Child Africa


In June 2010 Alex and Gregor Harvie created a dramatic art installation addressing the issue of rising global population which filled the atmospheric Crypt Gallery under St Pancras Church.


Gregor Harvie’s wall of 50 abstract paintings representing humans as a biological proliferation and Alex Harvie’s 50 elegies for societies whose drive to grow and misuse of their natural environments had catastrophic consequences was both compelling and extremely well-received.


For every painting sold, Street Child Africa offered a vulnerable child in Ghana a year’s apprenticeship including accommodation, food, medical care and support, to help lift them out of poverty. GENE MEME included a public debate, online resources and an educational programme.


Professor Aubrey Manning OBE said, “I’m very pleased to see contemporary artists tackling social issues, and particularly a subject as important as population. There hasn’t been enough debate about population issues, and contemporary art is a great way of reaching a new audience.”

Rupert Maas from the Antiques Roadshow and Maas Gallery said, “Primeval gods haunt the painter Gregor Harvie - Khaos, and Eros (love, the life-bringer). Spread across the fifty intense paintings of his new show, Eros has triumphed  - life has proliferated so fast that Gaia is exhausted. Logic predicts that, full circle, Khaos will prevail in the future, but all we can see in The Crypt Gallery (the underworld!), where the fifty paintings are densely hung, is exponential cellular division evolving through to teeming crowds. A glimpse of what may be the fate of all this life is given by his partner, writer Alex Harvie, in a series of elegies for past societies that have collapsed under their own weight.”

KS1 Teaching Materials 

This innovative programme of study for KS1 primary pupils raises awareness of how population size affects consumption. Lessons move from studying how much pupils consume in the present day back to the history of the city of Angkor in Cambodia which harnessed its water supply to grow into the largest city in the pre-industrial world. Available free over the internet, lessons foster creative thinking skills in the next generation, providing teachers with flexible, easy-to-use materials they will want to return to again and again.

Piloted by pupils in an inner-city London school, Angkor address NC programmes of study in: English, Maths, Geography, Science, Citizenship and Religious Education. 



Alex Harvie specialises in devising and implementing content-led communications campaigns.


She has developed perception change strategies for large-scale regeneration projects including Wembley Park, the London Olympics, Barking Riverside and the Greenwich Peninsula, as well as devising national outreach projects for high-profile organisations such as DEFRA and the Design Council.


Alex’s publishing work ranges from the commemoration of British victims of September 11 for DCMS, to the first definitive cultural redefinition of Iran in 70 years.