‘Seeking Refuge’ Besiktas International Garden & Flower Festival Istanbul
Posted on 21st September 2016
The garden was called ‘Seeking refuge’ and represented how the terror of war forces people to flee their homes in search of safety and peace. To many the identity of the ‘refugee’ is faceless but through this garden I hoped people would contemplate the desperate need, fear and often the limited opportunities refugees are presented with.
Towers in the garden soared into the canopy of the park trees. Mannequins, representing the anonymous, stateless situation of refugees fleeing conflict, balanced precariously on the edge of diving board precipices. Below drifts of grasses and spiky Agave denoted a potentially hazardous watery journey with oil drums symbolising both the factors that have fuelled their predicament and the confined, uncertain future that lies ahead.
There couldn’t be a better place than Istanbul to have made this garden in 2016 given that Turkey was hosting 1.9 million refugees at the time, more than any other country worldwide and more than 10 times the number of new Syrian asylum applications received in all 28 EU countries in the previous three years with the six Gulf countries and numerous other high income countries around the World offering zero resettlement places (source Amnesty International).