Flowers for immigration

"Flowers for Immigration," a photo series created and curated by designer Liziana Cruz captures floral arrangements created by the men and women working in bodegas cross New York city. (Lenny Letter and Lizania Cuz)

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Coming of age in Oakland’s Fruitvale community, there were a few things that rose to the level of certainty: a) come Saturday morning, my neighborhood would be alive with a blaring mix of vintage R&B soul and mariachi music, b) messages delivered at my school assemblies would be translated into at least two languages, and c) I’d hear one expression so often, at times I’d start to despise it: melting pot. As a child, the phrase prompted me to imagine a gigantic cast iron witch’s pot, perched on a makeshift fire, as multicolored glittery confections cascaded inside and joined the circular rhythm of an ore-sized wooden spoon. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say I had a penchant for daydreaming.


Now, more than 25 years later and more than 3,000 miles away, Dominican-born New York-based designer Lizania Cruz has translated that melting-pot ethos into a powerful message for the newly inaugurated president. She calls it, simply, Flowers for Immigration.

When one thinks of protest art, one doesn’t often immediately think of flower arrangement. But in bringing together flowers of different countries, not only do the women of Flowers for Immigration create floral microcosms of the country’s diversity; in their carefully thought-out selections, they also make as much of a statement as a towering, colorful freeway mural. And in doing so, they remind us that even our seemingly small daily acts can be an artistic expression of something much more significant.


Read more about Lizania Cruz’s Flowers for Immigration here.


‘Say it with Flowers’: A Petaled Present of Presidential Protest 30 January,2017Jamedra Brown Fleischman

  • Hillary Clintub

    KQED should do an article on the fine art of flower appreciation. When most people think of flowers, they usually just think of color. But there are other qualities to be appreciated, too, such as smell, texture and arrangement or even taste. Think about how blind people might appreciate a flower…or another person. Don’t forget, some flowers have thorns or attract stinging insects..

  • LezlieKinyon

    In these days when those who disagree with the policies of the administration are called “uncivil”, the extremely civilized “language of flowers”: the drawing room communication of the past. When a “tussie-mussie” or nosegay created from flowers would express meaning when it could not be said otherwise. Here is an example, wrapped in finest lace …Monkshood – Beware, a deadly foe is near; DEAD LEAVES: Sadness – NASTURTIUM: Conquest; MARIGOLD: Cruelty -PEONY: Shame . ” Beware, a deadly foe is near: Sadness at the Shameful of Conquest of Cruelty”


Jamedra Brown Fleischman

Jamedra Brown Fleischman is the Social Media & Distribution Specialist for KQED Arts. In her spare time she enjoys most things mommyhood, fashion and pop culture.