"now with added va-va-voom flower power!" -the Ethical Hedonist
Every day in captivity, Ai Wei Wei, the Chinese artist sent the Government a bunch of flowers. Thus the concept of flowers for freedom was born. Although a person can be deprived of their liberty, their relationships, the ties that bind, their captors cannot strip them of their capacity to create and to appreciate beauty, even in the most evil of places and through the dark night of the soul. Using colour and light to break out of the monochrome, barred and gated world of an institution, painting flowers became a way to cling on to my sanity and defy feeling “locked in.” The proceeds of the sales from Flowers for Freedom help to fund art classes and workshops for women only, at drop in centres, refuges and enterprise hubs. The response has been really positive, with outcomes in increased confidence, communication and group working.
I am deeply grateful to Peter Blake, the art teacher at HMP Bronzefield for his encouragement and to the Lightbox gallery in Sutton for taking my first attempts at art seriously. Also thanks to Piyush Suri of Handmade in Britain who took a punt and let me exhibit at Handmade at Kew, a learning curve for all. These new watercolours depict the freshness and sensuality of women and flowers - they'd make a great Christmas present and come framed by Accession CiC in West Ealing.
I look forward to seeing you this weekend! yours Farah Damji