SAVAC presents Ishtar’s Network of Feral Gardens, 2022

Ishtar’s International Network of Feral Gardens

May – October 2022

SAVAC invites you to join Ishtar’s International Network of Feral Gardens, a playful, experimental, food sovereignty initiative dedicated to the cultivation of feral gardens with an international network of artists, cultural workers, botanists and food activists. Named after the goddess of fertility, who also appears as the Lady of the Date Clusters, Inanna, Aphrodite, or Venus, the project invites gardeners from across Turtle Island and the world to engage in the process of planting, growing, and collective knowledge-sharing over the summer months.

If you have a feral garden, or would like to start one, we invite you to become part of the network by registering using this form. As a member of this network you will have access to a number of artistic and pedogogical engagements, stipends of $150 to subsidise the cost of your garden setup, and an online forum to share seeds, tools, and resources with each other. Programming will be presented in-person, asynchronously through text-based mediums, and virtually.

The sensing body as a conduit to the non-human

Our bodies carry bountiful reserves of knowledge borne out of our connection with the earth. Within our five bodily senses and their interstices, we bear imprints of the generations-long relationships that we have cultivated with the natural world. Ishtar, goddess of fertility, love, and justice, invites us into a process of meditative reflection and observation of this ancient bond.

For the 2022 edition of Ishtar’s International Network of Feral Gardens, we will explore the entanglements that our sensing bodies form with the many living forms which bring us into being. As we tend to our gardens, we will share the myriad cultural and embodied forms of knowledge that mediate these relationships. What can seeds teach us about sovereignty? What can foraging show us about living and healing within extractive landscapes? How can the scent of roses evoke memories of migration and the emancipated spatial geographies of public gardens? Join us this summer as we feel our way through these questions, and engage with a number of artists, writers, gardeners, and each other.

Upcoming Events and Artist Projects:

Ishtar Planting Day 2022
Sunday, May 15, 1-4pm
Chinatown Centre Courtyard (222 Spadina Ave)

On the eve of the Milk Moon, join SAVAC and the stewards of the Chinatown Anti-Displacement Garden for the beginning of the planting season. We will be preparing the garden outside the Chinatown Centre, and exchanging seedlings as an exercise in placemaking, reciprocity and collective sovereignty. You are encouraged to bring any seedlings, rooted cuttings or plants that you may want to donate to the garden and tools to plant with. Please bring direct-sow seeds and extra seedlings if you have them to exchange with other network members. If you’re unable to be with us physically, please join us in spirit by sowing your own garden.

Dispatches: Myriad Intimacies with Lata Mani
From June to September 2022

Postcolonial theorist, spiritual practitioner, and filmmaker Lata Mani draws on concepts from tantra—a philosophy that celebrates matter as alive, embodiment as sacred, and the senses as a form of intelligence—alongside feminist, critical race, and cultural theory to meditate on the ways in which everyone and everything exists in mutually constitutive interrelations.

Throughout the summer, we will be sending out Dispatches with excerpts from Mani’s texts, SacredSecular (2009) and Myriad Intimacies (2022) as a companion to the various activities that we will undertake as a network. Mani’s work oscillates between text and video, poetry and prose, genre and form, register and voice, and secular and sacred to offer a transmedia exploration of the interrelatedness of lives, concepts, frameworks, and aspects of self. The series will culminate in a collective reading event with Lata Mani in the Fall of 2022.

Transplant Field Guide with Meech Boakye and Christina Kingsbury
Releasing July 18, 2022

On a burning planet, maintaining relationships of reciprocity with neighbours, friends, flora, fungi, and bacteria may be our only way through. Nurturing kinship with “invasive” plants growing in degraded lands, vacant lots and unexpected alleyways offers important lessons toward imagining queer and anti-capitalist living.

Artists Meech Boakye and Christina Kingsbury present a field guide that reimagines the interdependence of human and plant life. Through a number of prompts for walking around our urban environments, this text invites us to consider: What forms of life exist in spaces which we otherwise view as barren? How do they adapt, relying on each other for support? How do we form relationships with these beings, learn from them, and reciprocate with gratitude and curiosity?

phullo, phallo, phirse: grow, flower, and feast again
Throughout August 2022

The scent of a rose is more than the sum of its parts, a fleeting sensation that nevertheless lingers in the deep recesses of memory. Rose gardens, so lovingly tended by our mothers, aunts and grandmothers, bear traces of a generations-long entanglement with a bounty of fragrances, flavours, medicines and colourful beauty. Cultivated in public gardens from Marrakech to Baghdad to Damascus, Lahore, Delhi, Dhaka and beyond, roses also evoke ties to myriad histories, places, and communities.

phullo, phallo, phirse is a storytelling project featuring four diasporic women sharing the ways in which they tend to their beloved rose bushes, and how roses tint their way of seeing the world. Throughout the month of August, follow us on Instagram (@savac_) to experience these stories, and use the hashtag #phullophallo to share your own encounter with a special rose or rose garden. This program complements Ward Waard Collective’s community rose garden that will feature in I am the land that speaks curated by Maya Wilson-Sanchez as part of ArtWorxTO’s Year of Public Art.

To receive updates about these and further monthly events throughout the summer, please register for the network here.


Suite 450
401 Richmond St. W.
Toronto, ON M5V 3A8

Monday – Thursday
10am – 5pm
By remote appointment only
416 542 1661

Facebook: @southasianvisualartscentre
Twitter: @SAVAC_
Instagram: @savac_