“I have had enough of worrying about whether it is safe to walk the streets of London
I have heard enough stories about gay teenagers committing suicide because of incessant school bullying
I have heard enough reports of state sanctioned public hangings of gay men in the Middle East
I have heard enough about homophobically motivated attacks happening all over this country, even here in Trafalgar Square
I have heard enough mindless homophobia
I am Angry
But as an artist, my response is to plant pansies!
I plant pansies at the site of these attacks and hope that they become tiny silent declarations of resistance.
Perhaps the most poignant planting so far was for Michael Causer, in August 2008 Michaels’s badly beaten body was found in undergrowth on a non-descript street in Liverpool. Two weeks later he was dead. I contacted Michael’s parents to ask permission to plant a single pansy at the site where his body was found. They kindly agreed and wanted to witness the planting. It was a solemn low-key and moving experience which I shall never forget.
I was in awe of their determination to find justice for their son, their grace under pressure, their solidarity in grief.
I have planted over 10,000 pansies over the last five years.
I have had enough of planting pansies
But no doubt I will plant more
Though I DO live in hope.”