Forest of hope spreads its branches

Karla Prada Fernandez and her daughter Zoe (in the hoodie) introduce the Forest of Hope project

At BioArt Laboratories on Oirschotsedijk in Eindhoven, the ISE art club exhibited their work today. Besides the inspired and inspirational work the International School students had created, there was also a forest tentatively spreading its branches: a small addition to the Forest of Hope.

The Forest of Hope is an initiative of women in Mexico to show what they call ‘stubborn optimism’ in the face of the current threats to life on the planet. Using what they call artivism, women are asked to stitch a tree. Eindhoven citizen Karla Prada Fernandez picked up this initiative and her daughter Zoe arranged for the work to be included in the exhibition at BioArt.

Darning the planet

Darning the Planet (Zurciendo el planeta) is a collective of over 100 women, aged 9-87, mainly from Latin America, who have two things in common. They long for an end to the climate emergency, to inequality and violence.  They also love to create new things using existing materials.

Forest of Hope

When thinking about the climate crisis, the idea arose that people could act like forest. As they put it, “trees are guardians of wisdom, examples of solidarity and community. In a forest, each tree communicates with the others creating a web of resistance, mutual protection and sustenance”. Moreover, they argue, “trees also happen to be our best and so far only existing mechanism for capturing the excess carbon in our atmosphere”.

The Forest travels

Zurciendoelplaneta travels to the U.K.

The Forest of Hope made its appearance at the 2021 Glasgow Climate Conference. It is currently on tour in various countries in South America. A seed of the project found its way to Eindhoven, through Karla’s mother, always involved with projects that deal with solidarity, among people as well as with the environment. As Karla says: “At times it is easy to feel powerless with regard to the immense environmental issues we are facing. However, there are projects and initiatives like this one that show how we can all collaborate and gain awareness and see that we are not on our own. Individuals can make changes but it is often grassroots organisations such as this one that can bring communities together.


The results of the Artivism promoted by the women in Mexico can now be seen in the BioArt Lab. Zoe Okonkwo Prada, who organised the exhibition, is convinced that art can bring about change as it generates discussion. Through her ISE art club, she wants to show that everyone has creativity that can be channeled, for example trough the nine trees that are on display. Does she worry that such efforts might be naive? “No, because the idea is evidently already spreading through our community with the potential to spread to a wider community and influence more people. It’s the knock-on effect.”

The Eindhoven Forest of Hope



Karla and Pernilla before the Forest of Hope

No new materials could be used for the project, and most people had fabrics and buttons and embroidery thread somewhere, but Pernilla was at a loss. She did, however, have a stash of single socks, kept in the hope that its twins would turn up some day. These socks have now been transformed into one of the nine trees, showing that we do indeed become creative when we need to. Others took their inspiration from their homelands: the Jacaranda tree from Guatamala or the birches from Sweden.



The current project has already jumped over the wall of the ISE as two of the trees were made by people with no connection to the school, but with a clear commitment to the environment. Ine van Lunteren, who decided to join with her sister Irene,  says: “My tree will hopefully contribute to better care for our environment”. So, Karla’s wish that the forest will expand, that next year will prove that these nine were only the start of our “Forest of Hope’ may very well come true. The whole ISE community, students, staff, family and friends are invited to join in. And, says Karla, “perhaps after this, we can take this to many other places in Eindhoven, the Netherlands and beyond. Ultimately, it would be wonderful to join in with the creators of this group. This should be easy now we are all getting used to meeting on-line, as they are a bit far away, in Mexico”.

For more information on this project see:

The BioArt Lab can be visited today from 16.30-18.00

Written by Greta for Eindhoven News



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