Maria Thereza Alves

Recipes for Survival
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Wake: Flight of Birds and People / Seed Catcher


Wake: Flight of Birds and People / Seed Catcher, 2015

Installation and outdoor sculpture

Wake: Flight of Birds and People takes as its starting point plants and seeds in the United Arab Emirates, and connects those botanical histories to the movement of people, animals, birds, wind, trade, war and meetings. The installation consisted of writing, archival and new photographs, and drawings placed on discarded wood panels used on construction sites. These were exhibited alongside a small indoor garden made out of non-native plants that are mostly considered native to the UAE. Those plants are in conversation with the stories and histories weaving different narratives and revealing buried histories.

The Seed Catcher is a living sculpture. The work is based on a natural occurrence that Alves noticed during her research visit at the Mina Rashed port in Dubai. While the land in Dubai is constantly being tossed and turned for construction there is a lack of potential for seeds to settle in it and grow. The Seed Catcher is made out of rubble from a construction site forming two small mounds that give shade for plants to grow in, and allow for water to accumulate, a paradoxical structure, where the same element that blocks the seeds’ growth provides its shelter.

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