During a residency in London in 2019, I developed a research and artistic project around the cut rose industry in Kenya. This was linked to on the one hand to the biography of wildlife activist Joan Root and on the other to past British colonial entanglements that are nevertheless still valid and problematic until today.
Kenya is by now the world’s third largest exporter of cut flowers. Roughly half of Kenya’s 127 flower farms are concentrated around a sweetwater-lake called Naivasha 90 kilometres northwest of Nairobi. Most of the roses that are available between £3 and £20 in British supermarkets such as Waitrose, M&S, TESCO and Aldi as well as in any other European country were grown in Kenya and imported for the market here. This research tries to shed light on the history and development of this enormous market and the impacts, the industry has on ecological and social exploitations in East Africa.
This is part of FIELDS, a section of The Learned Pig devoted to exploring fields as natural and (agri)cultural, invisible and visible, poor and productive, created and creators. FIELDS is conceived and edited by Marloe Mens.