Healing Plants, People and History Art Exhibit
Opening Reception: OCTOBER 16TH, 6pm to 9pm
On Display through Dec 31st
Hattie Carthan Herban Farm
49 Van Buren Street
This multidimensional art project was created to educate, raise awareness, and provoke deep thought on the journey of Healing Plants and People on this Planet . Plants are special biological entities to whom peoples survival are inextricably linked. We regard them as sources of nutritive products and carbon but often do not think of their spiritual and cultural value as recorders of history ,healing and resistance on the Earth planet.
Healing Plants, People and History uses multi-dimensional art to tell the stories of 13 plants and their history of healing and resistance in the African diaspora. Beginning with the prehistoric use of plants by our hunter-gatherer ancestors, plants have deeply affected and recorded human journeys on the planet. Multidimensional artist/plant medicine practitioner Yonnette Fleming invites us into the greenhouse gallery to ponder how people around the diaspora have worked with plants for their spiritual and cultural survival. The exhibit will host free multisensory hands on medicine making classes once per month and hold open hours first and third Sundays in November and December for the public.
Parallels & Context:
The multi-dimensional art installation is showcased within the Hattie Carthan Herban farm greenhouse, transformed into a vessel space signifying the journey of Plants and People on the planet. Outside the greenhouse, a trickling brook moving from left to right and slightly rippling is projected against the iridescent UV plastic frame signifying the ongoing movement of People and Plant on the planet. Inside the greenhouse, Thirteen historic storyboards illuminate the live plants being featured. Each of the plants are highlighted in a different historic scenario around the healing and/or resistance of a particular group of people from the African diaspora.
The storyboards are multidimensional yonic shaped seeded artworks in themselves. At the heart of the exhibit is a Large wooden ship carrying the major Orishas to the New World. The Orishas are West African demi Gods tasked with watching over humanity. Each Orisha has dominion over a portion of nature. African plant medicine is commonly called bush or orisha medicine and traces its roots some 4000 years ago to Yorubaland in the Ancient city of Ile-Ife. Similar forms of plant medicine practices has been observed in North ,South and Central America by the Stolen Africans who were shipped around the diaspora as a tool for their healing and for cultural and spiritual resilience.
Bush and plant medicine healing strives to address the root causes of illnesses rather than European systems of medicine that imitates pathological symptoms. In addition to plants, herbalists from the African diaspora like their Egyptian ancestors before them used songs, symbols, amulets and other spiritual tools to imbue the plant medicines with healing powers. Spiritual tools will be strategically placed according to protocol in the exhibit highlighting the historic importance of spirituality in plant healing and the vestibule exhibit space will feature plant medicine songs used to facilitate healing.
The shelves heavily draped in white cloth is transformed into A Sacred Altar that holds our Story of People, Plant and Planet. The white cloth used on top of the shelves containing medicinal plants celebrates the healing traditions that helped people survive-oppression and placates the violence humanity has wreaked on nature through the desecration of our history, environmental diversity and cultural wealth. The white cloth and LED spotlights also helps focus our attention to our plant allies who are hardly acknowledged for their redeeming values in our history.
Principal multidimensional Artist Yonnette S Fleming
Supporting Visual Artist Lisa Ross
Supporting Graphic Artist Irina Vinnitskaya
Supporting filmmaker/documenter Daniel Goodman
@ 2016 – Arts for Resilience – Urban Bush Educator Websites:
Citizens Committee for NYC
North Star Fund - Community Resilience and Alternative Institution Building
Hattie Carthan Community Market