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Published: 18 September 2021

By Andy Ross

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The Indigenous and Female Roots of Harvesting Flax

In 2020, unable to sow flax in Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Garden during the pandemic, artist Christine Borland sent packets of flax seeds to British women gardeners and asked them to carry out a set of rites she created.

The resulting exhibition references the growing and harvesting of flax, and the lore that women held in the days before scientific enquiry and industrial production. The photograph on this page, courtesy of the artist, shows Christine Borland in a rough linen cloak, with a wooden-handled spade. It was made in response to a portrait of botanist Sir Joseph Banks in which he is shown in a Maori ceremonial cloak from New Zealand. These cloaks are made from Harakeke, the New Zealand flax plant. This link takes you to a review of the show which runs until October 3rd in the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.