Residency, 12th - 19th July 2018Emma Löfström

This residency focused on the Cactaceae – the family name of cacti plants. Starting from the cacti collection of Jardim Botânico do Porto (Portugal), the project explored the fantastic properties of cacti, their uniqueness and structure. Emma investigated the deep connection between humans and cacti; apart from the long history of cacti as a source of food and medicine, she explored the fictional, mythical and religious connections to the plant. The project considered the importance of cacti in a changing climate; they play an essential role in local ecosystems – as water reservoirs which many animals depend on, whilst also doubling as food. Cacti are extremely sensitive to habitat loss and over-harvesting, and today a third of all cactus species are endangered, with illegal trade being a contributing factor.

The research will materialise in an illustrated publication produced in collaboration with Uncanny Editions, and with the contribution of a guest writer.

Emma also offered an open talk on Tuesday 17th July at the Shared Institute.


Emma Lö­fström (Uppsala, Sweden) is a visual artist based between Stockholm and London, graduated from the Royal College of Art (2009) and Central Saint Martins College of Art (2007). Emma Löfström creates works on paper, installations and moving image that focus on the relationship between natural and human history. Löfström’s work considers the structuring of nature, and investigates the systems of myth and meaning that shape our understanding of surrounding ecologies. With a particular interest in ecocriticism, biology and anthropology, Löfström is looking at representation and concepts of nature, rethinking the ways in which we regard non-human worlds. Whilst exploring drawing as a way of thinking beyond the word, her elaborately detailed and multi-layered images fluctuate between an indeterminate past and fictions of an inhabitable future, from the factual to the invented, from reason to the open-ended.

Recent exhibitions include On The Edge Of Time at SPACE Art + Technology, London, and Myth of the Cicada as part of Strange Cities, a group exhibition at Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens.  In collaboration with Irene Fuga, under the collective name Fuga+Löfström, she has recently exhibited her work Ministry of Love at Yinka Shonibare MBE’s Guest Projects, London; Dis Play at  Lugar a Dudas, Cali; and Cabinet Of Unnatural History at FLORA ars+natura directed by José Roca, Bogotá. Group shows include: Lounge presentation at Stene Projects, Stockholm; Ung salong at Uppsala Konstmuseum, Uppsala; Suffering at Sundsvall Konstförening, Sundsvall, Pick Me Up at Sommerset House, London; Vår + Provokation at Marabouparken, Stockholm; DRAW at Gulbenkian Gallery, Royal College of Art, London; Allmänt snö at Wetterling Gallery, Stockholm; and Exhibinstant at Henry Moore Gallery, London. Recent artist residencies include Centro Negra, Blanca, Spain; SPACE Art + Technology /The White Building, London; Lugar a Dudas, Cali, Colombia and Residencia en la Tierra, Quindio, Colombia.

Emma Löfströmat the Illustration Summer School

In the context of her residency, Emma was also be part of  the Illustration Summer School 2018 exploring Chroma as a sensorial, cultural and historical aspects of colour. Using extracts from Chroma; a book on colour by artist Derek Jarman as a starting point, each participant was assigned a colour to research; blue, white, red, purple, green, brown, yellow and orange.

Collaboration with Jardim Botânico do Porto