Skip to main content
Share this:
Book your tickets through Eventbrite

Wednesday 6th Mar 2024

18:00 – 19:30 GMT

The Wash Houses

London Metropolitan University

16 Goulston Street

E1 7NT

About this event 


In partnership with CREATURE (London Metropolitan University’s Centre for Creative Arts, Cultures and Engagement) and PF25 cultural projects, and in collaboration with Chelsea Physic Garden,  we present Ethno-Botanic Resonance. This event on 6th March 2024 comprises an artist performance and a panel discussion with art and cultural practitioners, a botany specialist, and a social anthropologist, fostering a visual and conceptual dialogue on ethnobotany across diverse cultural landscapes. 

 Ethno-Botanic Resonance delves into the profound intersection of ethnobotanical knowledge, cultural well-being practices, and the art of Ikebana. Ethnobotanical studies illuminate the global recognition of herbal bathing as a healing practice deeply ingrained in diverse cultures. Emphasising its dual impact on physical and psychological well-being, the narrative unfolds within the historical context of The Wash Houses, the oldest public washing facility in London since 1847. 

Curated by Angelika Li, London-based Hong Kong artist Hedy Leung will embark on a journey through ethnobotanical wisdom, unveiling the interconnectedness of human societies, plant ecosystems, and ancient well-being practices through an Ikebana performance. Weaving a historical entwinement of cultural traditions and botanical insights, the performance elucidates the intrinsic relationship between ethnobotanical knowledge and herbal bathing practices across cultures and time. It explores the shared heritage of botanical wisdom and cultural well-being rituals. Through the integration of medicinal herbs, the performance transcends traditional aesthetic boundaries, offering a contemporary discourse on the ecological and therapeutic aspects of plant life. Collaborating with the Chelsea Physic Garden, Leung meticulously examines each herb for its visual charm and historical-cultural significance in traditional medicine, creating intentional narratives embedded in Ikebana arrangements. 

The Ikebana performance will be followed by a panel discussion, with the artist and the curator, on plant-based healing, migration, trade routes, and colonialism across cultural landscapes from South Africa, East Asia to Europe, and beyond. 

“Hedy Leung. ‘Homeland in Transit: Artists from Hong Kong, Taipei and the Diaspora’, Ikebana performance and installation at PF25 Cultural Projects at E-WERK, Freiburg, Germany, 2023. Green materials, newspapers, acrylic paint, chicken wire, packing papers, PVA glue. Photo credit: Marc Doradzillo”



Moderator: Professor Wessie Ling is a Professor of Transcultural Arts and Design at the School of Art, Architecture and design at London Met and the Director of CREATURE.  

 Hedy Leung is a holistic practitioner and a member of the Sogetsu Teachers’ Association and Ikebana International Switzerland (Basel Chapter). Her work explores synergies between humans and nature through sound, plants, and Sogetsu Ikebana. She has participated in art and cultural projects, as well as artist-in-residency programmes in Europe. Besides her artistic practice, she explores energy balancing through BioGeometry Advanced Training. Leung is a certified senior Chinese medicated food dietitian with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Diploma in Practical Chinese Medicine Nutritional Studies. 

Angelika Liis a Hong Kong curator based in Basel. She is committed to engaging with the essence of places and the connections through culture, heritage, and stories. As the co-founder of PF25 cultural projects, a non-profit organisation bridging Basel and Hong Kong, she actively fosters a continuous dialogue between international communities. Her research focus includes diaspora, identities, colonial ideologies, and healing, showcased in the exhibition series ‘Homeland in Transit’, channels narratives and imaginations of ‘homeland’ from Hong Kong perspectives and interweaves them with experiences from around the world. In 2022, she was guest curator for the programme of ‘Brice Marden. Inner Space’ at Kunstmuseum Basel. Angelika holds a BA in History of Art and Architecture from the University of Reading and an MA in Cultural Management from the Chinese University in Hong Kong. 

“Hedy Leung. ‘Menhir Tapestry 1’, Ikebana performance and installation at Radio X 25th anniversary X_ARTS Festival, TransBona Halle, Basel, Switzerland, 2023. Green materials, scaffolding pipes, sound piece, collected materials and collective minds from the local community. Photo credit: Julian Salinas”

 Dr Vibe Nielsen is a social anthropologist with a background in Museum Studies, Modern Culture and European Ethnology, working on issues related to the decolonisation of museums, botanic gardens, and public places. Her recent publications include The Colonial Roots of Botany – Legacies of Empire in the Botanic Gardens of Oxford and Kew (2023, Museum Management and Curatorship) and Diversifying Public. Commemorations in Cape Town and Copenhagen (2023, In: De-Commemoration: Removing Statues and Remaining Places) among many others. She is a Carlsberg Foundation Visiting Fellow at the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, with a Junior Research Fellowship at Linacre College. 

Dr Jacek Ludwig Scarso is Reader in Art and Performance at London Metropolitan University and Deputy Director of CREATURE. He leads the MA Public Art & Performance at London Met and his research specialisms include public art, performative practices, contemporary museum practices and artistic practice as research. In 2018, his project Kamogawa Kamogawa explored the theatricality of Ikebana arrangements through a residency at Galerie Weissraum in Kyoto. The project was then presented at TAPRA 2018 (University of Aberystwyth) and at CICA Museum (Gyeonggi-do, South Korea). Jacek is also Senior Curator for Fondazione Marta Czok (Rome/Venice), Senior Advisor for City Space Architecture and Trustee of The Line, London’s first dedicated public art walk.

Shivani Patel has been a science educator since 2015 working at the Science Museum, Two Temple Place and Tower Bridge. Now as the Community & Youth Engagement Manager at Chelsea Physic Garden she works with local organisations and charities to engage underrepresented and vulnerable audiences with nature.

Shivani is an advocate for youth representation in Botanical Gardens and has delivered training to organisations across the sector on how to engage and champion young people. Shivani can often be found delivering social and therapeutic horticulture workshops and created the first Wind Rush Tour of Chelsea Physic Garden. Outside of work she is currently working towards achieving the RHS Level 2 Principles in Horticulture certificate.

Caroline Kamanais Director of the Liliesleaf Trust UK responsible for the delivery of the Anti-Apartheid Legacy: Centre of Memory and Learning, the UK’s first museum and community hub dedicated to the heritage of anti-apartheid and its contemporary resonances. A heritage and humanities education specialist, she has multiple years’ experience of teaching and curriculum innovation across primary, secondary and tertiary institutions and within cultural heritage sites. An expert facilitator of community engagement through archives and collections, her practice has been set between South Africa and the UK, including at the Constitutional Court of South Africa and for St Paul’s Cathedral, London. 

Partner and collaborator organisations: 


Chelsea Physic Garden is one of the oldest and most respected botanic gardens in Europe. It is the oldest in London, and only surpassed in age, in England, by Oxford Botanic Garden. Founded in 1673 by The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London for its apprentices to study medicinal plants and their uses, it became one of the most important centres of botany and plant exchange in the world. Chelsea Physic Garden’s plant collection is unique in being the only botanic garden collection focused on medicinal, herbal, and useful plants. It is destined to demonstrate the medicinal, economic, cultural, and environmental importance of plants to the survival and well-being of humankind. It helps everyone to understand the value of plants in their lives, to Sow the Seeds of Discovery through people, plants, and place. 

PF25cultural projects is a Basel-based non-profit organisation which aims to build mutual understanding, to develop an intercultural network and to create active synergies through meaningful, on-the-ground cultural exchanges generated by research with a focus on Hong Kong and Basel – and extending to other regions of Switzerland and Europe – with a view to expanding a wider spectrum of imagination and to exploring more diverse possibilities of living for the future. 

The Research Centre for Creative Arts, Cultures and Engagement(CREATURE) at London Metropolitan University, brings together interdisciplinary research in the creative arts, its practice, cultural impact and societal engagement. CREATURE hosts a range of disciplines, including art and design practices (creative writing, digital arts, fashion and textile, interior design, music, performance arts, photography, visual arts), histories, and visual material culture. Drawing on AAD’s tradition of cross-disciplinary studio practice and collaboration, CREATURE members are uniquely placed to study the changing nature of the creative arts with new aesthetics, creative processes of making and theorising, and understanding of cultural production in an evolving society. Through research, practice, commission and consultancy, CREATURE members have taken the dual role as academic researchers and art/cultural practitioners with many involved in activism, curation, journalism, and the creative and cultural industries on a national and international level. 

Share this: