After successful exhibitions in Lisbon, Lessing wanted to reach a wider audience – not just traditional gallery attendees.
‘Gardens’ (2000-2005) were three exhibitions held in public spaces. Lessing used objects from cheap Pound Shops, which had sprung up in Lisbon. Using these items, Lessing created sculptures which commented on social issues, such as sexuality, corruption and pollution. Lessing found it important to use materials that were accessible and used by the wider public, as she felt there was an elitism inherent in painting. ‘Gardens of Baghdad’ (2005), was a collection of wreathes which commented on the destruction and human cost of the Iraq War.
‘We Are Watching’ (2021) comments on the effect of the climate crisis on future generations. Lessing created scenes using miniatures and found media, which capture children, who observe the man-made destruction of their planet. The audience is left to wonder what they are feeling.