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The Power of the Flower

Updated: Nov 11

Subtle tools for justice, compassion and connection.


I launched Power Flower Posters about a year ago after studying the impact of flowers and their symbolic as well as direct power to meaningful causes, movements and actions around the world in history and today. I had been an art activist leading a community driven approach to Valentine’s Day called the Valentine Peace Project - handing out flowers with original poems with participating schools and volunteers together with local and Fairtrade flower industries. I learned how other activists and even large historic revolutions used flowers or its symbol in their vision and plan.


While working on a book on this subject I decided to open an on-line poster store and reached out to talented illustrators to collaborate on these ‘flowers of activism’. I had always been a fan of the visual vocabulary of retro and current political poster art and wanted to generate images to spread the knowledge and message of these unique movements, activists and beautiful botanic change agents.


I was lucky to find illustrators to work with where I live in Berlin, and also in the US. I commissioned as well a new friend - a Russian transplant living in north Germany. We discussed the best ways to tell the story of the flower, the symbol and movement or action it communicated.


Sophie Scholl of the White Rose

Sophie was a young woman standing against the Nazi machine during World War Two. She and her brother Hans gathered a group of friends writing leaflets for distribution condemning the war and the Nazi leadership in 1943 Munich. They called themselves the White Rose.


A white rose had several meanings for Sophie and Hans; one of them being it was the name of a popular novel at the time about a Mexican battling U.S. corporations [an interesting social justice connection across continents and eras!] Sophie Scholl is inspiring in her youthful courage within extraordinary circumstances.


Executed by the Nazis at 21, her last words were: 'What does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?'


2021 is the one hundredth anniversary of Sophie Scholl's birth. For this reason 25% of the proceeds of each White Rose poster will go to the White Rose Foundation (Weiße Rose Stiftung) whose programs work to promote 'individual responsibility and democratic consciousness.'


This floral interpretation of Sophie Scholl is by Baltimore artist and musician Alex Fine


Hibiscus ~ The Flower Power Man

A young George Harris set the flower power movement in motion in 1967 by placing flowers in rifles at a protest against the Vietnam war in Washington D.C. His simple action was captured by photographer Bernie Boston and beamed around the world - becoming an iconic peace symbol known to this day.


Harris later became drag queen Hibiscus, one of the founders of the San Francisco drag troupe the Cockettes. He performed with the Cockettes in San Francisco and New York throughout the 1970s before his death from Aids in 1982.


His simple action inspires me as an act of remembrance and peace against the impulse of violence and war.


20% of sales of go to the new activist group working on US legislation for gun control - Gays Against Guns.


The illustration of George Harris - Flower Power Man in all his personas is by Brooklyn illustrator Cat Willett.


Freedom of Rose Sharon

I learned about this striking Hibiscus flower spiritually named the Freedom Rose of Sharon from the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum in North Carolina, USA. The flower was used in the Underground Railroad to indicate a 'safe house' - meaning a safe haven along the journey of homes, churches and communities helping to bring Southern slaves to Northern safety and freedom in mid-19th century U.S.


How a small flower can hold so much promise and power! There are a few symbols recorded by historians that mark out the Underground Railroad documented in museums, books and documentaries. The flower is still a popular plant in the US.


20% of proceeds of this flower poster go to the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund working to adequately preserve significant African American history.


There are two versions of this poster by German illustrator Dominik Schwäger.


The Pansy Project

I discovered the Pansy Project a few years ago when I stumbled upon its hard hitting video. This initiative by UK artist Paul Harfleet was ‘planted’ to draw attention to homophobic attacks on many levels. A pansy flower is planted by Harfleet where an anti-gay attack occurred - whether physical or by insult. The flower is then photographed by him, with the location documented on his website.

The Project has grown to mark sites of homophobic violence across the world and has been featured and discussed at a number of festivals and schools. Pansies have been planted also at embassies of countries espousing homophobic terror. This simple act of beauty has sprouted opportunities to talk not only about homophobia in society - its history, reasons and effects - but about prejudice, values, gender and bullying. Today, with greater attention particularly to bullying and gender expression it maintains its importance and relevance. With my own community art background and as a gay man having been a victim of two violent attacks I resonate personally with this project.


20% of proceeds from purchase of either of the two colored versions of this poster go to the Pansy Project organization in the UK working with schools to combat homophobia on its many levels.


The design of this poster is by artist and illustrator Daria Turkina.

Thank you for reading and visiting. Please spread the word about these unique artistic gifts celebrating the coming together of botanic drawings, social justice and political poster art!


I am also a curator, performer and writer and you can learn more about me here: federicohewson.com


You can learn more about my Valentine Peace Project here: thevpp.net


Statements from each illustrator are on the product pages.


Thanks again - purchase a poster - and keep flowering :o)


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