The Showroom

Third Text special issue launch | The Wretched Earth: Botanical Conflicts and Artistic Interventions


Launch event for this special issue of Third Text edited by Ros Gray and Shela Sheikh. The Wretched Earth: Botanical Conflicts and Artistic Interventions presented new research on contemporary art practices that both explore and intervene in the cultures, politics and systems of representation generated through human interaction with the soil.

The editors' proposition is that in order to do full justice to Frantz Fanon’s diagnosis of ‘the wretched of the earth’, we must understand more deeply the extent to which this is due to the fact that the earth itself is wretched; and that part of this condition has been the destruction of ecological relations with the earth.

The phrase ‘the wretched earth’ signals an ongoing engagement with anti-colonial and anti-imperialist writers such as Fanon, but also the need to go beyond their reconfigured humanism to think about the multiple human and nonhuman cohabitations that constitute the soil and, more broadly, our more-than-human commons.


Issue contributions:

Ros Gray and Shela SheikhThe Wretched Earth: Botanical Conflicts and Artistic Interventions: Introduction

Nomusa MakhubuThe Poetics of Entanglement in Zina Saro-Wiwa’s Food Interventions

Shela Sheikh‘Planting Seeds/The Fires of War’: The Geopolitics of Seed Saving in Jumana Manna’s Wild Relatives

Hannah Meszaros Martin‘Defoliating the World’: Ecocide, Visual Evidence and ‘Earthly Memory’

Filipa CésarMeteorisations: Reading Amílcar Cabral’s Agronomy of Liberation

Richard William HillBorderless Histories: The Botanical Art of Maria Thereza Alves

Khadija von Zinnenburg CarrollNonWest by North: Marianne North and William Colenso’s Responses to the Classification of Economic Botany

Åsa SonjasdotterThe Order of Potatoes: On Purity and Variation in Plant Breeding

Sigrid HolmwoodCultivating Colour: Making Mayan Blue from Woad

Jennifer GabrysSensing Lichens: From Ecological Microcosms to Environmental Subjects

Read the articles here

Image: Courtesy of Third Text


A recording of the event can be found here