Since the turn of the century the following nine artists have used flowers or plants in a call for peace, to counteract images of violence or to highlight social injustice. We celebrate them all here along with the life-affirming nature and beauty of plants.
1. Collages of Mister Blick, 2014
Blick’s collages substitute weapons with flowers and foliage. In doing so he defuses images of violence and war with something altogether more palatable, peaceful and fun.
2. Banksy’s Flower Thrower, 2003
Banksy has used flowers in a number of thought-provoking ways. In what Plant Curator thinks is one of his best art works, a militant protestor painted on a wall in Jerusalem is seen throwing a bouquet of flowers. It’s a simple yet powerful call for peace. Quite brilliant.
3. Harm Less by Sonia Rentsch, 2013
This artist has made weapons and other munitions out of plant parts. In doing so, she mollifies their brutality while retaining the beauty of their form, giving us the notion of an alternative, more agreeable reality.
4. Richard Mosse’s The Enclave, 2014
In this photographic series and his previous ‘Infra’, Mosse changes the posturing and landscape of war into sonic pink dreamscapes. Captured during the Congo’s on-going civil conflicts it is the plants, so ubiquitous and dominant, that he has coloured, hyper-focusing our attention on the reality of what remains, the often forgotten human suffering.
5. Imran Qureshi’s And How Many Rains Must Fall Before the Stains are Washed Clean, 2013
The artist’s Roof Top installation last year at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York depicted the stains of violence in his native Pakistan and the world. Qureshi splattered the 8,000 square foot terrace with blood coloured paint that he then worked into leaf and flower motifs. Of this patterning Imran Qureshi stated, “The flowers that seem to emerge from the red paint in my work represent the hope that—despite everything—the people sustain somehow, their hope for a better future.”
6. The Pansy Project, ongoing
Paul Harfleet plants pansies in locations where there has been an act of homophobic abuse. By using this particular flower he not only reappropriates a word used against the gay community for the gay community, but also employs its delicate, fragile and beautiful essence to counter the violence, commemorate the victim and photographically record the site of the injustice so that it is not forgotten.
7. Yoko Ono’s Wishing Trees, ongoing
Featured here before, this great artist is doing her bit to bring the world together, installing trees and getting people to communally push for peace and love. We certainly love her.
8. Ana Tzarev’s Floral Sculptures, ongoing
Tzarev builds big shiny fiberglass flower sculptures and places them in public places across the globe. Together they form her Love & Peace Campaign, and like Yoko’s Wishing Trees these flowers travel to many cities drawing public attention to the artist’s valuable messages of global peace and harmony.
9. Alberto Baraya’s Herbario de plantas artificiales, ongoing
Also featured before on Plant Curator, Baraya uses his plastic herbarium to challenge the world’s inequities and injustice brought about by western colonial and post-colonial acts. It is hard perhaps for us to reconcile how our great, serene herbariums are living vaults of criminality, but when everything comes from plants there is a need to reassess all the places that inequities arose.