Paul Harfleet describes himself as an ‘accidental activist’ and is an award winning London based interdisciplinary artist. He has exhibited internationally since graduating from an MA in Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2004. His work has appeared on film and in multiple publications.
In 2005 Harfleet began The Pansy Project: the artist plants pansies at sites of homophobic and transphobic abuse, revealing a frequent reality of LGBTQ+ experience, often unreported to authorities. Operating as a gesture of quiet resistance, Harfleet has planted more than 300 pansies around the world from London to New York.
Other projects include Pansy Boy, a children’s book written and illustrated by Hartfleet and short-listed for the Polari First Book Prize in 2018; and Birds Can Fly (2020), a queer exploration of ornithology. This ongoing project is a manifestation of Paul’s life-long love of birds and reflects a resurgence in the cultural appreciation of the natural world, post-pandemic. Through drawing, research and writing, he intends to reveal the hidden colonial history of ornithology. In 2022 Harfleet’s work was featured in ‘Into The Red’ a book highlighting endangered birds, published by BTO (British Trust for Ornithology). In 2022 he was a winner of the Madame F Queer Art Award at Queer Britain, the UK’s first LGBTQ+ museum. In January 2023 Paul featured in a short film on BBC2’s Winterwatch, the piece showcased The Pansy Project and Birds Can Fly.