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These Wonderful Murals of Weeds Are A Tribute to Resilience and Resistance

3.9 ·

Alternatives germinate at the margins, sending cracks into the hardest things to change. Paved-over utopias, rise up like Weeds!

They may be tiny but they break through concrete. They are everywhere and yet unseen. And the more they get stepped on, the stronger they grow back. 

This is a series of paintings of weeds, some of them on-site animations, created as a tribute to the resilience of all those beings who no one made room for, were not part of the plan, and yet keep coming back, pushing through and rising up.

I look for weeds in the city streets near a wall I'm about to paint. When I find a particularly heroic one growing through the pavement, I paint it big, at a scale inversely proportional to the attention and regard it gets.

I paint all kinds of spontaneous urban vegetation: invasive species and native wildflowers. They have in common their way of trespassing enclosures, breaking them open, carving a path for the rest of nature to follow. 

Breaking through seemingly invincible layers, they reconnect earth to sky, like life to its dreams. It's happening everywhere at the margins of things, we're just not paying attention.

The location of each weed was often chosen for resonating with my WEEDS metaphor socially: places where alternatives are being created, that are making a difference in resistance to the entropy of our ailing world.

Why do I paint weeds, and why do I call them that, some ask.

Well, I'm reclaiming the pejorative term "weeds", owning it, as it describes not the plants' intrinsic value but their action. Whether invasive species or benign wildflowers, plants act as weeds when they appear clandestinely, autonomously, in surprising urban places. This is why I create some of these murals as on-site animations: to let the paintings not just BE, but ACT like weeds. 

While a big part of them are classified with the ominous-echoing term "invasive non-natives",  all immigrant plants are native somewhere of course, and if they they are here, it's because the global environment has been disrupted. It's a consequence of globalization. This is part of my metaphor.

The action of urban weeds is symbolic of the invisible multitudes of un-valued living beings, whatever their origin, who exist at the margins, but not without gaining strength there. They may disturb when they their numbers can no longer be ignored. But in the context of suffocated environments, these undesirables are the first to carve a path for the rest of nature to follow, in due time.

So this isn't a statement in favor of weeds, ecologically. It's a metaphor pointing at small bits of life who, collectively, can break through seemingly invincible, deadening surfaces. It is these "bad" plants, when they break through cement, that herald the return of Syntropy.

So I say crack that cement, reconnect earth to sky, our life to our dreams, and let the water reach them.

Paved-over Utopias, don't give up, rise up like WEEDS!
Must See Documentaries | July 2020
Carl Sagan
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