Compositions in Chinese Ink
Artworks by Kathy Haffegee | Mae-Wan Ho | Li Poon | Rosemary Mason
There are more than 400 000 species of
flowers according to the latest estimate in 2010 . The flowering plants are
by far the largest category of plants on Earth and many groups remain to be
assessed. New species continue to be discovered, but 22 % are already under
threat of extinction .
Human activities are very
much to blame for the demise of flowers. The use of herbicides is a major
contributing factor; in particular, the increasingly widespread deployment of
glyphosate (Roundup) herbicides with genetically modified (GM) crops and more
recently also to dry crops for harvesting and to control weeds in residential
areas (see  How
Roundup® Poisoned my Nature Reserve, SiS 64).
demise of flowers is a very serious issue. As is well-known,  “every aspect of our lives depends on them. From the
air we breathe [oxygen created through photosynthesis] and the clothes we wear
to the untapped medicinal and food resources that lie undiscovered in the
world’s plant species.”
The Chinese celebrate
diversity and creativity with the saying, “a hundred flowers blooming in
unison”. Flowers are the emblem of diversity and biodiversity; they also play
the central role in generating and maintaining biodiversity. Flowers coevolved
with insect pollinators about 130 million years ago . Insect pollinators
belong to four groups – Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (flies), Hymenoptera
(bees, wasps, and ants) and Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) - that together
account for more than 98.5 % of all (751 000) insect species . Flowers and
pollinators depend intimately on each other for survival. Without pollinators,
flowers will not produce fruit or set seed. Fruits feed birds and animals,
seeds propagate crops and wild plants that feed human beings and directly or
indirectly the abundant wildlife on Earth. Without flowers, pollinators will
not survive for want of nectar and pollen, nor birds or bats or other predators
that feed on insect pollinators.
Not least of all, flowers
create the endless palette of dazzling colours, exquisite symmetries of form,
and heady fragrances. All of which to flood our senses and quicken our heart
with love and passion; give comfort to the bereaved and ill, evoke fond
memories of bygone days, or portend perfect futures ahead. No wonder we give
flowers for all occasions.
A world without flowers does
not bear thinking about.
That is why we have put
together this virtual exhibition, to celebrate and propagate the magical power
of flowers forever.
ISIS is fortunate to have
co-exhibiting artist Rosemary Mason, who personally witnessed the
devastating demise of wild pollinators and flowers in her nature reserve as
glyphosate herbicide levels increase in the environment. She has chronicled the
devastation in an article published in Science in Society . But it is
her unique collection of arrestingly beautiful photographs appropriately named Lost
Flowers that speaks most eloquently of their disappearance over a period of
3 to 4 years. See collection: Lost Flowers | biography
Textile artist Kathy
Haffegee is in her elements as flowers have always been her favourite
subject. And it was Kathy who suggested that flowers should be the theme of
this exhibition. Her collection, Flower Stories, spans an impressive
repertoire in design, in the techniques and materials used, and in the
resulting variation of textures. It aptly captures the full meaning of the
adage, “a hundred flowers blooming in unison”. See collection: Flower Stories | biography
Mae-Wan Ho continues a
love affair with water in her Water Flowers collection, reflecting a
deeper understanding of the new science of water. Quantum electrodynamics
theory and many new observations described in her scientific paper
“Illuminating water and life”  in honour of Emilio Del Giudice, are pointing
to water as the seat of consciousness, not only in living organisms, but in the
universe at large. Water Flowers express the sensitivity and
responsiveness of flowers to all around them, their resonances with
pollinators, with us, and ultimately the entire universe. See collection: Water Flowers | biography
Li Poon completes our
exhibition with his collection, Cosmic Flowers, which takes the feeling
for flowers beyond the mundane to the cosmic dimension where the idea of flower
was conceived and its power of generation originates. See collection: Cosmic Flowers | biography
15 December 2014
See the exhibition here
- “Estimate of flowering plant species to
be cut by 600,000”, Lin Edwards, Physorg.com, 23 September 2010, http://phys.org/news204438872.html
- “How many flowering plants are there in
the world?” Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, accessed 1 December 2014, http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/environment/challenges/how-many-flowering-plants
- Mason R. How Roundup poisoned my nature
reserve. Science in
Society 64, 20-24, 2014.
- Hu S, Dilcher DL, Jarzen DM and Taylor
DW. Early steps of angiosperm=ppollinator coevolution. PNAS 2008,
- Pearson Education. Coevolution of Insects
and Plants. Powerpoint presentation, accessed 2 December 2014.
There are 4 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
|Sue Edwards Comment left 16th December 2014 20:08:22|
What a beautiful collection of 'flowers and their settings and friends'. I will get them into my desktop to keep inspiring me!
|Eric McArthur Comment left 19th December 2014 07:07:04|
A truly wonderful comment on the beauty of nature, which many look at but never really see!
|Allison Wilson Comment left 9th January 2015 06:06:41|
Thank you for sharing this beautiful and important artwork with the world.
|Pamela Dillon Comment left 28th October 2015 15:03:23|
Thank you for sharing. The color of nature changes with rain. Sometimes seems to exaggerate the colors. I am thinking the same for vertebrates as water enlivens all cells into their perfection. Nature is perfect! Thank you for sharing this wonderful artwork. Having studied honey bees for 8 years, I was also enlivened by the photography of flowers and their friends.