2nd Roma Biennale: Nomadic Seeds : Protest Planting Ritual for Colombia

Posted on May 27, 2021 by Stephanie Ballantine

Nomadic Seeds is a platform for dialogue and exchange about healing plants and a place for the seeds of friendships to grow. It was founded by the artists Delaine le Bas and Mara Lea Hohn as a reaction to CoViD-19 with an urgency to invent strategies of self-care and create accesses to natural and non-industrial remedies independently from pharma-industries or governments for everybody. Nomadic Seeds is an organically growing  community based on decolonial practices and knowledge-production consisting of gardeners and artists spread all over the world. As part of the Roma Biennale 2021 the project was launched on the birthday of Damian le Bas on 30 January 2021. Like for Damian the Medicine Wheel holds the belief of equality that everybody and everything on Mother Earth has equal value with nothing and nobody being worth more or less than another. 


With digital meetings every last Saturday of the month we meet at NOMADIC HEALING WHEELS – sessions inspired by ancient Medicine Wheel Gardens, the first ethnobotanical community gardens and pharmacies in the world where people grew medicinal plants together and shared ancient wisdom and knowledge with each other. With our sessions we create bridges and dialogues between us by learning from and taking care for each other and the species we share our habitat with. If you want to get part of a growing community of wild plants and receive the invitation to our next session please write to us: nomadicseedsofresistance@gmail.com.


In the meantime the first Nomadic Wheel Garden is realized with an intercultural community of gardeners at Orto Semirurali in Bolzano, Italy. The participatory project started in 2019 by artist Mara Lea Hohn in collaboration with Hilary Solly and the Donne Nissa Association in Bolzano. Migrant families and gardeners who arrived from Bangladesh, Marocco, India or Cuba hav e often no stable access to the health system in Italy. In the Nomadic Wheel Garden gardeners can grow  plants they know from their ancestors and share secret recipes and remedies with the whole group. As an act of self-care and group-empowerment there are grown healing plants with spiritual, emotional, physical and mental healing properties referring to each nomadic biography of the gardeners.


“In Colombia we’ve been protesting since 2019. Now, in 2021, even with the COVID-19 crisis, we decided to take the streets and the roads to express once again our disagreement with the government. A government who had the job to make real the peace dream and to face a pandemic crisis. None of those things has been done by Iván Duque’s and his political party. Instead they have allowed hundreds of social leaders to been killed all over the country, they keep imposing policies that make poverty still rising in the middle of a pandemic crisis. They respond to our protesting with more violence. Today we want the world to know that they are killing us.“ 

Mesa Usmeka in May 2021

In a time, where friends in Colombia get threatened and killed by acts of inhuman cruelty and colonial violence of the government and the police we see it as an urgency to solidarize with protesters, gardeners of peace, environmental activists for freedom and children defending their ancestors cultural and spiritual heritage. By colonial crime and brutal violence the Colombian government has taken land from farmers and indigenous people for centuries. Many got affected by forced displacements and natural habitats of plants and animals and by that a biodiverse ecosystem of the most diverse country in the world got destroyed. We want to take care and resist against what is happening from wherever we and create more awareness about realities that are not represented in the media. Our responsibility wherever we are is to plant this awareness in ourselves and in our societies. 

As a response to that we invite you to be part of our online manifesto and protest performance on the 29th of May. We will listen to and share voices of protesters and activists in Colombia and a manifesto of healing plants for resistance. In memory of 41 killed protesters and 1500 protesting victims of police violence we will then alltogether plant in an online ritual our plants of resistance and memory. Please prepare a plant or seed, a pot and some soil that you can plant from wherever you are (e.g. your kitchen, your balcony, etc.). The plant you plant will create a memory, will respond with life, care and hope and is by that an act of resistance against cruelty and death. Please encourage as much people as you can,  to join. The more we are the stronger the power of our performance can be. 

Please RSVP to receive the link to the event to nomadicseedsofresistance@gmail.com .



Pictures: Delaine le Bas, Mara Lea Hohn  , Carolina Diaz
Poster Artwork and Drawings: Mara Lea Hohn