Eva Abbinga, Arrival of the Raja, performance 2016
The Hydroponic Garden is a place to appreciate the root system of plants, just as the migrant experience exposes cultural roots to be transplanted.
The steward for the hydroponic garden is Bic Tieu. Bic was born in a refugee camp in Indonesia to parents who fled Vietnam. She grew up in Western Sydney and is now teaching object making at University of New South Wales.
She describes the attraction of hydroponic gardening:
Growing plants in water is a term described as hydroponic gardening. Hydroponic is the practice of growing plants without soil. A south-facing unit teaches you many things about plants. I have learnt which species of plants can thrive in limited conditions such as low light and no soil. Through this process, I discovered succulent plants are wonderful natural designs and propagate easily in inner city urban environments. I grow a species of plant called Philodendrons. I have the common types, with climbing trails of heart-shaped leaves. A fascinating fact about these plants is that they can survive on trees, on the ground and in water without soil. They can take root anywhere! This makes me think of the human condition, abilities, and migration. Often movement in migration takes on a similar toll where one has to adapt to new places and cultures.
I have a selection of philodendrons growing in recycled glass bottles and glass cylinders. I love that I can see their roots and leaves flourish. It is an easy plant to adore and we can understand why its origins from the Greek words; philo meaning “love, affection” and dendron meaning “tree”. Looking through my glass bottles and seeing roots take place without soil is a strong metaphor and reminder of my personal experiences of family migration and many shared stories on the Australian soils.
See also the Safe Harbour issue #14.
Mai Nguyễn-Long ✿ Vomit Girl - Mai Nguyễn-Long introduces her Kôgábịnô exhibition, featuring works that express the Vietnamese punk-like aesthetic of mộc mạc. Kevin Diallo ✿ Ode to Zouglou - Claire Grant talks to Kevin Diallo about the vivid imprints of his journey from Cote d’Ivoire in the churchie emerging art prize. Oceans in a tea cup - Alma Studholme admires the work of Jayanto Tan and reflects on her own work that bridges migration with the warmth of a teacup. The box: A magic object of objects - Beginning with the Japanese animation Spirited Away, Bic Tieu traces her fascination for the magic of the box in Japanese craft and discovers how it connects humans and nature. Finding your feet: A communal tapestry in full bloom - Jane Theau describes a remarkable textile project she coordinated with Afghani refugees Sayd Abdali and Nasaphah Nasaphah, reflecting how craft can bring together people who are pushed apart by the economic system. Paula do Prado ✿ My abuela’s hands - Paula do Prado shares the story of her family’s epic story from Africa via Uruguay to Australia, as reflected in her intricately threaded creations. Paula do Prado ✿ El Grito - Paula do Prado's textile work El Grito expresses a cultural resistance drawing on her African ancestry. Where I came from - This online exhibition features images of works alongside glimpses of their maker's past. Tap on each image to see where the artist has come from. Chilean horsehair jewellery across the Pacific - Crin (horsehair) jewellery is idiomatic to Chilean culture. Trinidad Estay has taken this technique to the other side of the Pacific where it develops a close relationship to its equine origins. The Bolga basket: Ahmedabad comes to Accra - The purpose of the initiative is to adapt sensitively basket-making traditions, practices and challenges facing Africa’s women basket weavers, through drawing on the experience and knowledge of India’s traditional craft and highly developed design sectors.
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