Wyrd Flora, YAK and Motanafas Collective: Power of Place: Earth, Gather, Form

Exhibitions: FREE

Wyrd Flora, YAK and Motanafas Collective: Power of Place: Earth, Gather, Form


Thursday 30 November 2023 - Sunday 14 January 2024


Mohamed Ghonim

Scarlet McPherson, Trolley in the Colne

‘Power of Place: Earth, Gather, Form’ is an exhibition co-curated by Lora Aziz (Wyrd Flora), Firstsite’s Young Art Kommunity (YAK) and Motanafas Collective which reflects young peoples’ personal experiences and stories from two very different locations, the mountain region of St Catherine in Sinai, Egypt, and the Colne Estuary landscape of Colchester, Essex.

Within this space, YAK and Motanafas explore visual storytelling and nature journaling, offering glimpses into personal reflections, cross-cultural experiences, histories, and stories. 

Featuring botanical plant sketches, embroidery and photography, along with natural pigment exploration and plant inks, the exhibition brings together artworks from nearly 100 participants in a unique journey that takes you through nature, culture, and the profound connections that tie us to the environment and prompts us to ask questions about preserving traditional land knowledge.

Power of Place seeks to amplify the relationships and ways of seeing the natural world of rural, indigenous people in the ‘global south’ whilst also shining a light on the experiences of young people living in more urban settings in the ‘global north’ with a focus on plant species found common to both locations such as willow and hawthorn as one of the many connections.

YAK have been working with Wyrd Flora on a series of projects and events since 2021 when they came together to reconnect with the outside world after months of lockdown. They have built up a collection of knowledge of wild crafting, foraging, ink making, and plant lore through walking, talking, crafting, photographing, exploring, experimenting, journalling and zine making. This exhibition presents just one iteration of this knowledge and creative expression. It is a starting point for more exploration.

We invite you to explore, reflect, and celebrate the power of place with us.


Supported using funding from Arts Council England, Essex County Council, Colchester City Council. The exhibition forms part of the British Council COP27 Creative Commission Motanafas: A space to connect, bringing together art, science and digital technology to offer innovative, interdisciplinary and inclusive responses to climate change.

Our historical and ongoing environmental challenges are rooted in centuries of ‘profit over planet’ attitudes, which led to the exploitation, extraction, and marginalization of non-western countries. 

“Climate change impacts are disproportionately felt in countries exposed to colonialism and are least responsible for emissions historically.”

“Climate justice is a movement within the climate change framework that seeks to redress the systems of power that continue to extract from, oppress, marginalise and harm people and planet. In this exhibition young indigenous Bedouin contributors have the opportunity to share their own formulated identity with others.” – Lora Aziz


This exhibition is part of our ongoing work to challenge the traditional roles in the art sector.


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YAK | Young Art Kommunity

Young Art Kommunity (YAK) is Firstsite’s young-people peer led group which organises events and activities within the gallery and in the wider community.

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Welcome area at Firstsite. 'Big Hello' (2018) Peter Liversidge. Photo by Jayne Lloyd.

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