8 April 2022

‘Košice Seed Library. Seeds that Move’ at Šopa Gallery

‘Košice Seed Library. Seeds that Move’ at Šopa Gallery

As winter in the Northern Hemisphere is traditionally the time to plan the garden and to tell stories, the exhibition uses this contemplative moment to speculate about the potential of seeds. Each seed carries a wealth of knowledge, the cultural and biodiversity of where they come from through histories of coevolution with communities, as well as potential for the future. This project is a collection of contributions by artists, curators, designers, gardeners, farmers, and organizations from various parts of the world, containing actual seeds, conceptual seeds, artworks, spells, instructions, videos, and sound recordings.


The contributions speak about the local circumstances they come from, as well as the possibilities or restrictions on how seeds and other bodies are allowed to travel, including crossing borders. They tell stories of grounding and uprootedness, belonging and loss, of hope and connections through the global circulation of goods, food and traditions as people travel with their seeds. As long as you have seeds in your pocket you will never be poor – goes the old saying. How can we save and exchange these seeds and share the ideas and traditions they carry? How can we care for them and create new ecologies together?

After the exhibition, in the spring, we will plant the seeds together in the soil of Košice, where they will create their own new relations and ecology.

Jumana Manna, Wild Relatives, video still
Jumana Manna, Wild Relatives, video still

As part of the exhibition Jumana Manna’s film Wild Relatives (64min, HD video, 2018), reflects on the complex issues in relation to seeds banking. Deep in the earth beneath the Arctic permafrost, seeds from all over the world are stored in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault to provide a backup should a disaster strike. Wild Relatives starts from an event that has sparked media interest worldwide: in 2012 an international agricultural research centre was forced to relocate from Aleppo to Lebanon due to the Syrian Revolution turned war, and began a laborious process of planting their seed collection from the Svalbard back-ups. Following the path of this transaction of seeds between the Arctic and Lebanon, a series of encounters unfold a matrix of human and non-human lives between these two distant spots of the earth. It captures the articulation between this large-scale international initiative and its local implementation in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, carried out primarily by young migrant women. The meditative pace patiently teases out tensions between state and individual, industrial and organic approaches to seed saving, climate change and biodiversity, witnessed through the journey of these seeds.


The exhibition project is supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council.
Slovak Arts Council is the main partner of the project.
The project is also financially supported by City Košice.


ArtistElena Agudio, James Bridle, Joélson Buggilla & Jorgge Menna Barreto, Sunoj D & Namrata Neog / Lakshmi Nivas, Sári Ember, Saskia Fischer, Oto Hudec, Areej Huinti, Zayaan Khan / Seed Biblioteek, Jumana Manna, Emma Nicolson / Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Elia Nurvista, Uriel Olow, Martin Piaček, Tabita Rezaire, Sara Rodrigues & Rodrigo B. Camacho / Landra, Vivien Sansour / Palestine Heirloom Seed Library, Ai Weiwei, Ayman Zedani, Amy Watson / Pool
ExhibitionKošice Seed Library. Seeds that Move
Place / venueŠopa Gallery
Dates10 February – 18 March 2022
Curated byBorbála Soós

See also