Crocosmia ×


Crocosmia × is a collaborative art project with individuals seeking asylum in Ireland that brings art, poetry and horticulture together in workshops leading up to two site-specific public artworks in IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art) and Grangegorman.

These site-specific public artworks incorporate large clusters of Crocosmia × crocosmiiflora and an audio work featuring poems written and recited by Jean-Marie Rukundo Phillemon, Siniša Končić, Annet Mphahlele, Saida Umar, Peter Rukundo and Marie Claire Mundi Njong. For two weeks in September voices in Kinyarwanda, Luganda, Croatian and Urdu will echo above the site while these wild flowers are in bloom.

Crocosmia × marks a new chapter in The Plurality of Existence… that began in 2015. This project seeks to explore representation from the unique perspective of those who are not represented in, or by, the legislative, cultural and political frameworks within our society. The Plurality of Existence… engages with cultural diversity, inclusion and the rights of the individual, through collaboration with individuals seeking asylum, living in Ireland. The project began in the garden of Spirasi, Ireland’s only organization helping survivors of torture who are asylum seekers, refugees, or other disadvantaged migrant groups. Gardening created a shared space of equality and dignity and led to the formation of the working group Crocosmia [1]. Crocosmia × crocosmiiflora is the scientific name for the common Montbretia. This wild flower found along country roads in rural Ireland is in fact native to South Africa. In digging up this corm we found a metaphor of hope for our group who had themselves been uprooted and forced to leave their homeland and create a new life for themselves in a foreign land.

Crocosmia × aims to cultivate Crocosmia × croscosmiiflora, (also known as Montbretia, Back to School Flower and Fealeastram Dearg) common to Irish roadsides and native to South Africa as a new metaphor for diversity in Ireland that questions received notions of what is ‘native’ and what is ‘foreign’.

Working with Hallah Farhan Dawood, Ragad Farhan Dawood, Papy Kahoya Kasongo and Romeo Kibambe Kitenge we aim to cultivate the metaphor of Crocosmia × through a series workshops in primary and secondary schools, an exhibition in the Lab and two site-specific artworks for Grangegorman and IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art).

The project extends out to the wider community through the process of gathering clusters of these plants from kind gardeners who responded to our call for donations. Specimens from large garden estates, rural farms, suburban gardens and inner city yards were brought to the nursery of IMMA/RHK. Since February 2018 we worked closely with Mary Conlon, OPW and Head Gardener of IMMA/RHK, learning how to nurture and plant these wild flowers in preparation for gardening workshops with school children and teenagers in local schools in Dublin 7 and two site-works in IMMA and Grangegorman that will be launched in September 2018.

School Workshops

IMMA & Grangegorman

Plant donations by

Supported by

Commissioned by ‘…the lives we live’ Grangegorman Public Art
Grant aided by Dublin City Council
Supported by IMMA and OPW

In partnership with Spirasi, Ireland’s only organization helping survivors of torture who are asylum seekers, refugees, or other disadvantaged migrant groups.
Connecting with Dublin 7 Educate Together Primary School, St. Paul’s CBS and St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Stanhope Street.

Special thanks to transition year coordinator Val Roe (St. Paul’s Secondary School Brunswick Street), transition year coordinator Siobhan Earley, St Joseph’s Secondary School Stanhope Street and senior infants coordinator Anna Donnelly (D7 Educate Together Primary School).

Heartfelt gratitude to Mary Conlon, OPW, Head Gardener of IMMA/RHK and the generous gardeners who donated their plants from all over Ireland.

Crocosmia × crocosmiiflora corm, photo courtesy of Sean Breithaupt
Crocosmia × crocosmiiflora in bloom, photo courtesy of Eoin Mac Laughlinn



Public Events

I Slept Like a Stone

The Lab, Dublin City Council, Foley Street, Dublin 1
June 18 – August 19 2018
Curated by Sheena Barrett and Julia Moustacchi

The plants on display in this exhibition will be planted on the grounds of the Mosney Refugee Centre.

Public Launch of Crocosmia × at IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art)

Saturday 8 September 2018 at 1 pm
A family friendly event in the front lawn of IMMA, with music and poetry written and recited by Siniša Končić, Marie Claire Mundi Njong and Jean-Marie Rukundo Phillemon.
Bring your family, friends and a picnic and enjoy the beautiful formal gardens of IMMA.

Special thanks to Janice Hough, Coordinator of the Artists’ Residency programme and Mary Conlon, OPW, Head Gardener of IMMA/RHK and her team who worked tirelessly with us throughout the entire project, from guiding us through the process of planting the corms, nurturing the plants in the nursery to planting the wild flowers on site in along the fringes of the entrance to the RHK. Special thanks to artist Eoin Mac Laughlainn who assisted us with this artwork.

Public Launch of Crocosmia × at Grangegorman Campus

Culture Night, Friday 21st September 2018 at 6 pm
Open invitation to gather in the intimate outdoor auditorium beside the playing fields next to the tree lined Avenue to hear the poetry of Crocosmia;

From 21st September – 7th October
Voices in Kinyarwanda, Luganda, Croatian and Urdu will echo above this intimate space while these wild flowers are in bloom.

Special thanks to Jenny Haughton, Public Arts Coordinator, Grangegorman Public Art, Lori Keeve, GGDA and Derek Bowden’s Grangegorman Estates Team in particular Himzo Kazar. Special thanks to Adam, Keith and Dylan from St. Paul’s secondary school, Brunswick Street who assisted us with this artwork.

To see more about the project visit our Facebook page Crocosmia X

[1] Shared and different realities were revealed in artworks that include an exhibition in Visual, Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow (2016), curated by Emma Lucy O’ Brien, a series of audio works comprised of poems written and recited in languages ranging from Kinyarwanda, Luganda, Croatian and Urdu) transmitted along waterways in Dublin, Cork, Carlow and Galway and an anthology of poetry, also titled The Plurality of Existence… (2017) designed by John Sherwin, with preface by Dr.Clodagh Emoe and essay by Prof. Briget Anderson (Oxford). Proceeds from the publication go to The Friends of the Centre Ballaghadereen, Syrian Refugee Centre, Co. Roscommon. The artworks that unfolded out of this project present a new reading of community that is not determined by sameness but one that is centered on the relations that are formed across categories of nation, race and culture.