Traditional Kosovan dancing, featuring one of our volunteers!

10th December 2018. International Human Rights Day, and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What better way to mark the occasion than at a launch of an exhibition celebrating diversity, activism and “home”.

Set against the gorgeous backdrop of Kibble Palace at Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens, a collaborative effort by artist Martha Orbach and the tireless Maryhill Integration Network and Govan Community Project brought together a series of screenprints depicting “Which Plants Make Home”?

The images are simple and poetic, and many of the captions strike a chord.

“Banana trees grow naturally in Africa. To see them grown and preserved in the Botanic Gardens gives me a sense of belonging, knowing that I can still see these plants grown in Scotland.”

“Poppies are a symbol of sleep, peace and death. In my homeland’s fields the poppies blow, and symbolise a memorial to all those heroes and innocent people through centuries who died for Kosovo liberation.”

“For me the leaves resemble somehow the human nature, the bendy one is when you feel down and blue. Maybe also the plant resembles the connection you have with people.”

The crowd began to gather, as members of Maryhill Integration Network gathered in traditional dress to perform, a stunning display, with the red and white of their dresses popping against the tropical green backdrop. A participatory dance was then announced, and one of our volunteers was hauled onto centre stage in a fast-moving, traditional Kosovan dance.

Thanks go to Rema at Maryhill Integration Network for inviting us along, and to Martha Orbach and the teams at MIN, GCP and Glasgow Women’s Library for a lovely afternoon.

The exhibition runs until Christmas Eve. Free event, all welcome.

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