“Accidental activist”, artist Paul Harfleet plants pansies at the sites of homophobic abuse.
The Pansy Project started as a personal act, marking places where Paul himself had experienced abuse. The ritual of revisiting sites and planting the pansies works as something of a remedy and gives an occasion for reflection. The pretty flowers help to redeem a location, transforming the patch mentally and literally. Paul photographs and blogs each pansy with a caption of the abusive words.
The practice has spread with Paul planting pansies for others across Manchester and Liverpool, as well as in the USA, Turkey and Austria. Now the project has arrived in London and the plan is to plant 100 pansies by the end of the summer. One is already in place at Canary Wharf.
Homophobia is horrible and reports of it are on the rise in some London boroughs, e.g. Enfield, Newham and Redbridge. Planting pansies isn’t going to stop it but positive action that makes people think and beautifies spots tainted with hate, can only help bring hope.
Read the full story on BBC London News.