Cameroon is on the lame light at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew in England. The green space is hosting the 2023 edition of the Orchid Festival.
The Orchids festival aims to celebrate the beauty and exoticism of orchids and other tropical flowers in the Princess of Wales Greenhouse. The conservatory is then filled with the colours and scents of the magnificent displays of one of the world’s most prolific flower species.
According to orchid expert, Professor Michael Fay, wild orchids are under threat: “Cameroon has just over 400 species of wild orchids. And we know what is going on with about 25% of them. The threats to them are about the same as those to orchids worldwide, i.e. between 60 and 70% of them are threatened with extinction in the wild,
This year, the organisers have devoted a large part of the exhibition to animal sculptures from Cameroon. The latter devoted a large part of the exhibition to sculptures of animals from Cameroon with for instance hippopotamus emerging from the water lilies, a crocodile or a giraffe.
Solene Dequiret, who supervises these floral compositions, explains her approach: “we were inspired by Cameroon’s fauna and flora, but also by its immense diversity, its mix of communities. There are more than 250 different communities in Cameroon. And the Cameroonians have amazing works of art, beaded works of art. And there is also fabric and coloured materials that are found in the colour palette that we used.”
Christine Eyene, art critic and historian, offers visitors a chance to see photographs by Yvon Ngassam from the Bikoka Art Project, an art initiative for women and young people in the country: “It is really about the African presence in Kew Gardens and in this conservatory. This exhibition is also accompanied by a soundscape. It’s about the sound of our culture and we want people to be in some way.”
Visitors have until 5 March 2023 the opportunity to visit Cameroon through this lush vegetation