Maggie Hills

News, artwork and information

Floral graffiti

‘the future is empty easy to convince and ours’

An off-site project for the Vardy Gallery, growing flowers were used to spell out a ‘found’ toilet graffiti text in Backhouse Park, Sunderland. The work was made in collaboration with Houston based artist Katrina Moorhead.

The text, around 7ft high and over 200 ft long, took a week to plant. It involved 3000 winter pansies and violets fading from a dark indigo to white, mimicking the effect of a pen running out of ink.


Floral Graffiti, Backhouse Park, Sunderland, 2004

Sadly it was, as half expected, a short-lived piece. We had hoped for it to be on view for at least two weeks – longer if the flowers survived – but it succumbed (presumably) to the nihilistic appetites of the youth of Sunderland after six days. The flowers were uprooted and strewn accross the bank and most of the delicate floral text reduced to grooved templates of bare earth – except the word ‘ours’ which remained intriguingly in tact.


Floral Graffiti (Wrecked), 2004

I was at first saddened that its demise had been so swift, and that everyone’s miserable predictions about anything’s life-span in such a ‘rough’ park had been proved right. But on reflection I accept that in the true nature of graffiti the text was appropriated: re-claimed by the perpetrators of the ‘vandalism’ (for want of a better word) as ‘ours.’

When the the flowers were being cleared up afterwards, kids collecting conkers in the park helped out. They were given some of the uprooted flowers to take home and plant in their gardens/give to their mums: an appropriate dissemination of the work and a satisfying ending.

© Maggie Hills


Written by maggiehills

July 13, 2007 at 1:52 pm

%d bloggers like this: