There exists a copy of ‘The Language of Australian Flowers’, written by George Robertson and Company, printed in 1891. It at first reads as a blissful time spent with flowers and shared as encouragement to British friends to make the journey to Australia. A whimsy poetry to take the strange and distant land and show a similarity to their northern home.
However when removing the white lens given to me by my colonised education, I can see that what was written inspired by lovely day spent by the river thinking of friends, actively contributed to racism, genocide and harm. It was created to further ensure British colonies remained established in these distant lands.
When the social media trends slow down, and the buzz of daily life allows us to fall comfortably in our privileges again, how do we maintain the focus to dismantle the systems of oppression that exist? How do we challenge our own racial bias? How will we step beyond the ‘important conversations’ and take action?
I’m slowly stitching a little collection of Australian flora from the old pages of this floriography poetry. Panels of embroidery to challenge these social ideals that do not deserve a role in our modern society. If we were to let them decompose and rot, just as the garden soil needs, can you imagine what would flourish in its place?