What is a defiant garden? According to Kenneth Helphand, who coined the term, it’s a garden that is grown in extreme social and political conditions. Soldiers holed up in Western Front trenches during World War One; Jewish men and women in Nazi-controlled Poland; civilian internees in Asia during World War Two: all of them, in the face of imminent annihilation, resisted spiritual death by creating pockets of horticultural resistance. They invested imaginatively in a future they had no way of knowing they would live to see. They seeded beauty in a world of barbarism.
Helphand will be talking about and showing images from his extraordinary, often heartbreaking research into a neglected dimension of gardening and war-culture history. He will pay particular attention to the defiant gardens created in Japanese-American internment camps, as well as those built in secret at Guantanamo Bay.
Kenneth I. Helphand is Knight Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Oregon where he has taught courses in landscape history, theory and design since 1974. His award-winning books include Colorado: Visions of an American Landscape (1991), Dreaming Gardens: Landscape Architecture & the Making of Modern Israel (2002), and Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime (2006).
Moderated by Sukhdev Sandhu. Sandhu is the Director of Asian/ Pacific/ American Studies at New York University, and the author of Night Haunts: A Journey Through The London Night.