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Renowned UK artist and refugees sow The Seeds of Hope across London


Renowned UK artist and refugees sow The Seeds of Hope across London

20 May 2024
a woman sits crafting felt flowers at a table in front of a garden

At St James' Church in Piccadilly artist Kate Daudy created a bespoke artwork for visitors

If you’re out and about in London this May, keep a look out for some unusual and meaningful flowers popping up across the city. In the latest collaboration between British conceptual artist, Kate Daudy and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, The Seeds of Hope calls to mind the oneness of nature and humanity.

Through art, video and digital, the project evokes how refugees with the right support and compassion can thrive - just as seeds blown by the wind can flower under any circumstance.

A woman sitting down attaches a felt flower to a wall

Kate Daudy's flowers find space to grow in the cracks and up the walls of buildings.

Kate’s iconic felt flowers started growing on 13 May – on the walls of shops, community gardens and cafes, and the facades of London monuments. All are now in bloom and each flower brings with it messages of hope, humanity and solidarity through the stories of refugees (with videos linked through wooden QR codes).  

a flower made of yellow and organge felt

Daudy's carefully crafts each flower to the space she finds as she decorates London in flowers.

The artist’s work was inspired by her observations of flowers and plants grown in refugee camps from seeds that people took with them on fleeing their homes. 'This project - which is amongst other things a love letter to London - is an invitation to consider the fact that we are all one. Each of us take part in building a more harmonious future - if we choose to do so,' said artist Kate Daudy.  

Over a dozen London organizations have volunteered to take part. Locations include Uniqlo 311 Oxford Street, St James’ Church in Piccadilly, and a number of community gardens, art galleries, refugee-owned businesses and more.  

Ten refugee storytellers who have found sanctuary across the United Kingdom have shared the special meaning that a flower, plant or seed holds for them. Their stories represent the variety of refugee experiences, extending across Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Syria and Ukraine.  

Usman from Pakistan tells the story of coffee, which has its roots in migration and shared experiences. He now lives in London and runs Haven Coffee, a cafe and social enterprise that supports refugees through barista training.  Wafa, a Syrian refugee resettled to the Isle of Bute talks about the narcissus flower – known in the UK as the daffodil - which reminds her of home. They also grow in her local park where she often takes photos to make new memories. For Maya, a Syrian refugee and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, the smell of jasmine the wafts across London in the springtime brings her back to Damascus.    

‘We’re thrilled to be working with artist Kate Daudy, several iconic London locations, and refugees on this powerful project’, said Vicky Tennant, UNHCR Representative to the UK. ‘It shows how people from all walks of life can come together in creative ways to bring hope and support refugees.’ 

The Seeds of Hope officially launches on 20 May 2024 across London and online.

Visitors are invited to find them all. Just as the flowers will appear organically across the city, the felt will naturally biodegrade until eventually they disappear, just as naturally as they arrived.