We Are Not Responsible


Video as part of the workshop series ‘Response: Our Land Narrative’, with The Polygon Gallery, North Vancouver.

From the 1750s to late 1800s, the Veitch family were influential in British gardening. The family would commission “plant hunters” to travel the world in search for rare and exotic plants for Victorian gardens and conservatories.

When the 19th century plant hunters returned to Britain, many of the plants, cuttings and seeds were unloaded at Topsham Quay, before being transported to gardens across England.

The Topsham Museum Garden is home to a number of these gathered plants.

I’m interested in the idea that European settlers have not only occupied traditional lands, but have stolen land materials, to occupy British gardens for the benefit and privilege of Europeans, who are mostly unaware or misinformed about their own colonial history.

I’ve used the Topsham Quay garden along with a powerful poem by Harryette Mullen titled ‘We Are Not Responsible’, to explore this idea.

For more on this story, visit:

Video and editing: © Amy Romer
Voiceover: Patrick Romer
Poem: © Harryette Mullen

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