CYCLES ECO-MURAL // SANTA FE INSTITUTE OF THE ARTS // FOOD JUSTICE RESIDENCY // NEW MEXICO, USA // 2015
Cycles Eco-Mural is a collaborative social practice project. With thanks to The Sante Fe Arts Institute, Creative New Zealand, The Los Jardines Institute and partner artist Nanibah Chacon.
For this collaboration Singh partnered with Nanibah “Nani” Chacon, a Dine (Navajo) and Chicana artist. noted for her female figurative works which utilize bold colors and an illustrative format to create commentary Native Chicana and American culture. Nani was born in Gallup, New Mexico and grew up both in Chinli, Arizona and in Corrales, New Mexico. Her clan is To dich iini (bitter water) and born for Chicano people. Both artists use their practice as platform to address social, environmental and political justice issues bringing forth a dialogue between culture and contemporary social perspectives; many times acting as a narrative to traditional ideas translated to the current cultural climate. This collaboration continues the essential dialogue around our vital relationships with the natural world, in a commentary about the current commodification of natural resource and the intrinsic value of plant life. Applying the archetype of the sacred feminine to explore ideas of feminism, culture, traditionalism and modernism. Using methodologies of the ephemeral and Singh’s plant based aesthetic combined with Chacon’s narrative aesthetic of murals. This combination of practice, birthed the land based Cycles Eco-Mural, in an environmental land partnership with the Los Jardines Institute.
In essence, a earth mural with an image created from an assortment of compostable elements, whose function is to provide a living regional based herb garden with a categorical reference to identify common plants that exist and flourish in our lands and communities. The imagery is centred around a “Mother” archetype acting as a reference to religious beliefs and mythology centred around the notion of “Mother Earth”. The design and plant elements are formed in a centrifugal design utilising pattern and concentric circles to articulate the continuos cycles we partake in which govern our existence and interaction with the world around us. As a part of the artwork a reference guide was created which will serve as a comprehensive educational tool supporting the garden. This contains the medicinal properties of the plants used, common names, Ethnobotanical information along with recipe’s for nutritious dishes or helpful and useful remedies. The guide is seen by the artists an essential component to bridge the importance of the plants and their applicable uses.
It is the artists hope that the garden and reference guide will serve as awareness tool that continues to perpetuate the dialogue around the importance and forgotten wisdom knowledge associated to these plants. Especially in a time where the state of the U.S. Medical System is in constant insecurity. As these plants are the most accessible resources in our given communities we see the Cycles Eco- Mural as being a living artwork that functions as a social practice project to aid identification and awareness, whilst providing sustainability, physical, mental and spiritual nourishment through learning and sharing the beauty of these plants.
The full project page can be found here: http://cyclesecomural.tumblr.com/