By Jill Brooke
Flowers draw people together – literally and figuratively.
An inventive museum entrepreneur recognized the healing aspects of flowers following a memorable 25th-anniversary gift to his parents and adapted the concept for a worldwide movement called “Bouquet of Hope.”
Abhishek Poddar, who founded The Museum of Arts and Photography (MAP) in Bangalore, India, invited his wide net of friends, colleagues, donors, patrons and family around the world to take a photo, draw a picture or create a painting of a flower and submit it.
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In just a few weeks, hundreds of flower submissions from places including “Switzerland, South America, New Zealand and London“ started virtually blooming and creating a tapestry of connections.
Like most of the world, Poddar is in lockdown but realized this project could be a thread to connect people and enable them to not only create in their forced captivity but also “share sentiments of hope and love.”
Each submission allows the sender to share a thought of who they are thinking about or missing or alternatively showcasing their favorite art inspired by a flower.
It is an organic collection at this moment. But already Poddar and his team are creating the technology so anyone can access this blooming visual tapestry and separate the images for a customized experience.
“You will be able to curate the bouquet within the bouquet,” he explains.
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Does your mother like roses? Well then a collection of rose images you can choose from will show up. Do marigolds bring a friend merriment? Then the technology will showcase some images for you to swoon over.
Over time, the “Bouquet of Hope” project could be your visual art florist.
As Poddar says, you can share sentiments of “hope you are in good health, hope you had a happy birthday,” – even if you are not physically with someone.
His museum was supposed to be unveiled this year. COVID-19 has delayed the opening but not his creativity. Now his “Bouquet of Hope” project could be a centerpiece for the museum’s launch next year and very well an enduring narrative – and good luck charm – for its future.
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This idea was inspired by a gift Poddar and his sister gave their parents for their 25th anniversary in 1989.
For weeks, the siblings told their parents that a special bouquet was coming their way for a grand catered party the family was having.
On the day of the party, as bouquets of flowers perfumed the house from admirers around the globe, his mother couldn’t find the bouquet from her children.
“Is it this one?” his mother asked, as another bouquet arrived. The Poddar siblings kept their composure and shook their heads no.
Finally, they led their parents to a wall where 25 beautiful panels of flowers – created by India’s most famous artists including Prabhakar Barwe, Arpita Singh and K.K. Hebbar – greeted them. Each panel was 12×12 inches to collectively create a dazzling six-foot floral painting.
It was obviously a memorable gift that the family of art collectors treasures. Except now instead of a gift for his parents, Poddar is creating this gift for the world.
After all, each flower, as we know, holds a love story.
Submissions can be made here: www.bouquetofhope.in
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD.
Photo Credits: All images courtesy of the Museum of Art & Photography