Guerrillas in the Midst
October 24, 2009 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
Toronto street artist, provocateur, and now guerrilla gardener, Posterchild, created this planted flyer box:
“I create public installations (or ‘Street Art” pieces) that are both playful and political,” comment the artist on his blog. “I create my art to engage with my environment and those who share it with me. I do not seek to anger or upset my companions in the city, rather, I am searching for a benevolent, sustainable way to involve myself in our shared public spaces without being arrested or unnoticeable…I create my art from unwanted things…I gather my materials from the flotsam of the urban environment, process it, and return it to the city.”
Of this installation, he explains, “The boxes make a perfect platform for planters–and with them you can guerrilla garden almost anywhere in the inhospitable concrete city! Best of all, the sides are open for writers and artists.”
Guerilla Gardening, according to Wikipedia, is political gardening, a form of direct action, primarily practiced by environmentalists. It is related to land rights, land reform, and permaculture. Activists take over an abandoned piece of land which they do not own to grow crops or plants. Guerrilla gardeners believe in re-considering land ownership in order to reclaim land from perceived neglect or misuse and assign a new purpose to it.
Some guerrilla gardeners carry out their actions at night, in relative secrecy, to sow and tend a new vegetable patch or flower garden. Others work more openly, seeking to engage with members of the local community, as illustrated in the examples that follow. It has grown into a form of proactive activism or pro-activism.