Waard Ward is a collaborative, social practice project that invites newcomers to train as florists and imagine social-entrepreneurial futures.
Collectively led by Syrian florist Abd Al-Mounim, community organizer Hanen Nanaa, educator Laurie Ritacca, curator/educator Patricia Ritacca, and artist Petrina Ng, Waard Ward collaborates in floral arrangement, decolonial research, and newcomer community building. Waard Ward's name proposes the idea of a diasporic flower district; "waard" is a romanization of the Arabic word for flower.
Throughout September 2021, at the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, Waard Ward collective will offer a series of workshops to Arabic-speaking refugees and newcomers to develop flower-arranging skills. In collaboration with artist Nicolas Fleming, Waard Ward aims to embody a space for collaboration and co-learning. The gallery will display each workshop's floral arrangements, with new flowers added and vessels continuously re-arranged weekly.
Waard Ward's advisors are Allison Chow and Joseph Pitawanakwat. Allison is a cut flower grower and garden designer. Her urban flower farm and design studio, together named Posy Gang, are located in Whitby, Ontario. Joseph is Ojibway from Wikwemikong and founder/director of Creators Garden, an Indigenous outdoor education-based business, focused on plant identification, beyond-sustainable harvesting, and teaching every one of their linguistic, historical, cultural, edible, ecological and medicinal significance through experience.