We’re Gardeners and You Can’t Stop Us



Striking scupture on the streets of Oslo.  Somehow I’d find it more convincing, though, if it weren’t the easy sentimental choice in that fist, but instead something more sophisticated–a plant that announced that the fist is not a poseur but a real gardener. 


  1. My first thought when I saw the rose was that the sculpture had little to do with gardening and more to do with White Rose (die Weiße Rose), a non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany. (It’s leaders were discovered and guillotined.) It’s an interesting story you can read more about at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_rose

    In part: ” … the symbol of the white rose was intended to represent purity and innocence in the face of evil.” I think that gardening can be a political act. But I don’t think it will ever rise to the level of the White Rose.

  2. The artist is Ola Enstad. When I saw this photo and posting, I googled him. (I read Norwegian.)
    The sculpture is in bronze and is called “Fist and Rose.” It was originally commissioned for the city of Asker, but when they saw the cast, they decided it was too “political” and broke the contract. The “Fist and Rose” became a catalyst for a general political battle. The Conservatives were against it; the Liberals for it. (My interjection here: The most conservative Norwegian is still more liberal than the “average” American.) Anyway, Enstad was quoted as saying that he had probably been naive, but his intent was artistic, not political. He says, “If I’d had political motives, I wouldn’t have dared!” So now the sculpture rests in Lilletorget i Oslo where an organization re-commissioned it for their 100 year anniversary.

  3. Maybe so. What better place for a Nazi resistance statement than Oslo, after all? April 9 1940 is still a strong memory for many Norwegians. Who knows.

  4. I am a personal friend of Ola, he said that this particular sculpture was a real pain in the neck for him because of all the opposition and assumptions about this pieces socialist ideas. When he made it the idea was not about that but a lot of lawyers and people who jumped to conclusions made things quite difficult and the piece sat in limbo for a long time, finally being bought by an organization to put out in front of their HQ.

    Actually I have a lot of photos of Ola working on sculpture that you can see on my Flickr at http://flickr.com/photos/avotius/

  5. I just saw this website todau for the first time. Is it leagl for me to use the Blaschka print on it to cover my tea cans? I may be selling that tea at dome flea markets. I would love to wrap some home made soap in it? Any comments, anyone? Hasn’t the statue of limitations run out?

  6. I came across this blog entry while doing a Google image search for the symbol of social democracy.

    While I’m here, I should probably mention that the reason why this sculpture is thought to have political undertones is because the (red) rose held in a closed fist is the international symbol of social democracy and moderate socialism.

    See, for example, the website of the Socialist International:

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