The Sympoiesis Garden.

  An Art & Ecology project and research into gardening as artistic practice.

In September 2022 I started a one year research at the Royal Academy of Antwerp. For the duration of an Academic year I shift my practice towards organising a community garden together with the art students. We meet weekly to garden together in the historical garden of the Academy.  

Sympoiesis means 'making together', it comes from the book Staying with the Trouble by Donna Haraway. In the garden we work towards restoring ecology from a non-human-centred perspective based on the books of Donna Haraway, Anna L. Tsing, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Jamaica Kincaid and many more. We focus on diversity in plants, soil, critters, patches, views and techniques. We try to decolonize the garden practice and take up a multicultural and non-binary practice.  

Climate change is only going to become more important, and many artists care about how they can help. In order to find an meaningful approach with ecology it is interesting to work from a pratice based on understanding: to really engage with soil, plants, birds, insects... 

Working with nature goes both ways, it will restore ecology in the garden and it will inspire new ways of thinking within an artistic practice. This change of perspective is a shift towards a multitude existing together, a thinking with. When we touch nature, nature touches us, and the trees, stones and compost become meaningful, together we make sense.

The historical garden of the Royal Academy is a protected area, with a landscape design from 1905 and to be able to open up this garden to work together is a meaningful and very important change in the whole ecology of the Academy. Now we have a place where we can interact and study with nature.

I am writing a detailed page on the continuation of the project: the changes in the gardens and what comes in to live with us on a separate page:

You can also follow the instagram profile:

During this year I keep my studio practice and continue to paint, draw, photograph, film, write and all the other things I like to do in a studio but it will be less vocal. The Gesamthof, A Lesbian Garden continues as well and is very much connected to this research, this tiny ecology is in a healthy condition and getting better all the time. The spill over effect of lots of plants in a small place means we can share seedlings and divide and share plants with the garden community to increase the diversity in the Academy gardens. 

Both projects, the Gesamthof and the Sympoiesis Garden, are pioneering in art & ecology, they are among the first and we invent new futures as we go along. There is a lot of groundwork to be done and we can do this because of the support and interest from both within and outside the Academy.


The historical garden of the Academy of Fine Arts is located in the cente of the city of Antwerp.

The communication started with anonymous notes left in various places in the Academy to keep expectations open.

The secret garden was a bare patch of ground and we built a natural pond for biodiversity.

We start small, it's not about reaching a deadline, this project is ongoing in its very nature.

We work from a multispecies perspective, this is not about beauty or produce in a human-centred design.

The plants and seeds are mostly leftovers from the Gesamthof and selected for the context in the Academy: a woodland patch or a secret garden.


Premiere Gesamthof / A Lesbian Garden

 On 30 July 2022 Anne Reijniers and me screened our short film Gesamthof / A Lesbian Garden at Morpho in Antwerp. For this event we organized an exhibition by the poet and writer Johanna M Pas, her work brings gender, nature, ecology and being wild together in her poetry. A pop-up stand of LGBTQI+ bookstand Kartonnen Dozen offered feminist literature related to the art nature project Gesamthof, the lesbian garden in the same location. 

We would like to thank everyone who helped to make this empowering and caring event, a big thank you to the wonderful public who came the create a very diverse community for the evening and thank you Johanna M Pas, Terre & Sym, Morpho, Extra City and The Sore Spot Singers. 

If new screenings are planned, they will be announced on this website. A very warm thank you from both Anne Reijniers and me.


Photo by Miles Fischer, Anne Reijniers and me at the projection on the wall in the cinema by Morpho

Setting up the cinema at Morpho, it turned out the option to add more chairs was a good idea.

The exhibition with poetry by Johanna M Pas in the beautiful old refter of the monastery.

The poem by Johanna M Pas is also translated by her.

Johanna M Pas writes about gender, identity, nature, ecology and feeling home.

Terre organised the pop-up bookstand by Kartonnen Dozen, the oldest lgbtqi+ bookshop in belgium.

Gesamthof / A Lesbian Garden



Premiere short film (15', 2022)

Screening at MORPHO on 30 july at 21:30h, entrance via Extra City, Provinciestraat 112
Anne Reijniers & Eline De Clercq invite you to the premiere of their short film Gesamthof / A lesbian garden, an art - nature project in the monastery garden of Extra City and MORPHO. In this time document of the garden we follow a tour with Eline De Clercq and the MORPHO artists in residence. The garden provides an entry point to talk about diverse topics such as colonialism in botany, the ambiguity of naming, the social expectations of women and the search for a lesbian identity.
Anne Reijniers and Eline De Clercq are both artists and gardeners living in Antwerp. Anne Reijniers is part of the filmmakers collective 'Collectif Faire-Part' and participated in MORPHO's development residency in 2021. Eline De Clercq is a visual artist, painter and rents a studio at MORPHO in Ploegstraat since 2019 when she also started to work in the monastery garden.

The film shows the Gesamthof, a lesbian garden - including trans people -  inspired by the books of Donna Haraway, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Jamaica Kincaid, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Ursula Leguin and many other thinkers who are working on togetherness in the Plantationocene. The Gesamthof puts thoughts into tangible practice: Haraway's queer kinship, speculative fabulations, situated knowledge and Tsing's explanation of a complex patchy capitalism and the human aspect into the restoration of post-industrial land as well as being part of the ecology. In the garden we see how compost works, what soil can do and how a pine tree is a great pioneer. In the film we document the garden and our place in it along the garden path. The tours that are given in the garden activate the stories that are shared between the human and nonhuman inhabitants. 

The temporary nature of the garden, the residents and the project, gives this short film an urgency. We don't know how long we can stay at this location, and climate change is happening now, both makes us feel like we have to keep working at a better understanding of what ecology means in a multilayered compost.

There is an entire page on the garden project, with old photos, new images and where you can read the garden recipe:

or follow on instagram for updates @wool_publishing

Film still from 'Gesamthof / A Lesbian Garden 2022 on being useful.

Film still from 'Gesamthof / A Lesbian Garden 2022 on how to begin.

Film still from 'Gesamthof / A Lesbian Garden 2022 how to find plants.

Film still from 'Gesamthof / A Lesbian Garden 2022 on new names for old plants.

Film still from 'Gesamthof / A Lesbian Garden 2022 on the archeology of the soil.

Film still from 'Gesamthof / A Lesbian Garden 2022

View on the lesbian garden from the studio by Eline De Clercq





 We might think of gardening as a romantic past-time. Yet, gardening has been an important tool for colonialism and possession, but also emancipation. Eline De Clercq (°1979, BE) created a lesbian Gesamthof in the monastery garden of Kunsthal Extra City and Morpho. As plants are non-binary, the garden is a safe space for lesbians. She brings together a community of humans and non-humans to work together with care for their ecology. For this exhibition, Eline selected accessible medicinal plants from the garden to reveal class issues in an intersectional context. Medical care in most countries is still reserved for those who can afford it. This selection of plants thrive everywhere and are freely available in the wild, even in urban areas. Historically, they are used to heal female or othered bodies. Eline's curation culminates in the presence of Artemisia, which grows all over the globe and is used against illnesses like malaria. In some cultures, it is known to cure hormonal imbalance and induce natural abortions, but when doses incorrectly it is deadly poisonous. The plant is an illustration of the dangers female bodies go trough as a result of inequality and sexism, but also becomes a symbol of freedom. With the growing world-wide criminalisation of abortion and the endangered Roe vs. Wade court rule in the US today, Artemisia might even be a symbol for the fight for self-determination and equal rights in the 21st century.

Text by Zeynep Kubat



Artemisia is an installation of plants and fabrics in Sugar for the Pill: plants from the lesbian Gesamthof, 2022. Artemisia Vulgaris, Salvia Officinalis, Mentha Citrata. Wool fabric on a cotton rope with a depiction of the goddess Artimisia on one side and the leaf of the Artemisia plant on the other side in oil paint. Cotton fabric on the wall with text informing about the plant, the use, the religion and other abortifacient plants, with a danger warning all written in oil paint.


Sugar for the Pill is a group exhibition curated by Zeynep Kubat and my work was shown alongside the works of artists Margaux Schwarz, Laurie Charles, Chantal van Rijt, Lysandre Begijn, Saddie Choua, Aurélie Bayad, Carole Mousset, Lisa Ijeoma, Pélagie Gbaguidi.

Image: Axelle Degrave

Image: Axelle Degrave

Image: Axelle Degrave


Sugar for the Pill


Antwerp Art Weekend 2022 central exhibition Sugar for the Pill, curated by Zeynep Kubat.

Lesbian Portraits

These small portraits are an ongoing series of an inclusive lesbian representation in paintings with both real persons and imagined faces. The paintings are made to visualise the diversity of a lesbian identity, they are the endless possibilities of who identifies as lesbian. By choosing to paint only the face and not the background or clothes the portraits are atemporal and could represent people from all times and diverse cultures. The series is by no means an atlas of people, rather I ask myself what might be a lesbian face, and the ongoingness in the portrait series is a never ending answer on this question. In reality there is no way to know if a person is lesbian only by the face, an neither to know if they are heterosexual. But the acceptance of multiple realities matters. These portraits are about a lesbian identity including cis, neutral and trans persons.

B.R.A.V.E. Art space with curator Leïla Bounoua and colleague Luna during Lesbien·x·nes.


Part of the series has been in the group exhibition Lesbien·x·nes at B.R.A.V.E. Art Space in Brussels from 24 March 2022 till 30 april 2022. All portraits listed below are 30x20cm oil on canvas, made in 2021 - 2022.