Saturday, November 8, 2008

Site #32 The Secret Gardeners "GROWTH" 5670 Hawthorne Place, Lakeview

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"Growth" was unveiled in November 2008 as a Prospect 1 Satellite exhibition. It was dismantled in February of 2009 to make way for continued renovations of the property.

The Secret Gardeners constructed an environmental art installation in the sadly desolate Lakeview community to promote awareness of the interconnectedness of all life. This installation honored the cycle of life as evidenced by the new growth provided by the uprooting of a 100 year old pecan tree by the federal levee breaks of Hurricane Katrina. That disaster has been a catalyst for abandoning old ideas and pursuing new paths on physical, psychological and spiritual levels with the potential to imbue us with a passion to be deliberate and mindful in our actions.

Cutting a jungle-like path in a backyard grown wild since Katrina, The Secret Gardeners created a meandering labyrinth, revealing small shrines installed in the growth, leading to unexpected surprises. Seeds sprouted into trees and one witnessed that when left alone the earth regenerates itself. One path lead to the uprooted pecan stump, symbolically leading one to a new path in life. Another path lead to a campfire circle where a performance of Native American style drumming was held. Visitors were invited to participate in a simple healing ritual around the small campfire, accompanied by meditative song. Above this poetic enclave, colorful streamers made from deconstructed fragments of flood-destroyed clothing were woven.

"GROWTH" functioned as a memorial to the sacrifices necessary for new growth. The altars made of endless piles of other-wise rejected flood refuse provided spontaneous opportunities for personal reflection and play. Participating in "GROWTH" mimiced the sensation of magically discovering hidden treasures in nature and provided an experience that can inspire a reverie of recovery and hope. The rituals at the campfire offered an opportunity to bury the past and envision a positive future, cultivating a healthy community spirit and investing in the future of this struggling neighborhood.