Photographs of Victorian botanical prints juxtaposed with photographs of Japanese sakura: cherry blossoms: real, artificial and pop. Famous Ornament examines the cultural exploitation of plants by nations and illuminates conflicting, inspirational and nefarious narratives embodied within Buddhism and Western colonialism.
Victorian botanical drawings celebrate discoveries of new medicinal plants, as well as imperial documentations of exotic trophy specimens “captured” for export to Europe through military colonialism. In Japan the transience of sakura endure as a Buddhist metaphor for ephemeral life. In contrast, sakura painted on the sides of the bomber planes during World War II inspired pilots to “bloom as flowers of death”.
Referencing syncretic transformation through spiritual, physical and cultural migration, Hindu-Moghul screen prints are layered on cropped mosque floor plans from the Islamic diaspora. Mosques are drawn from Muslim and non-Muslim countries: China, Yemen, India, Somalia, India, Thailand, the United States, Europe, etc. They range in age from ancient to contemporary.
The line between reality and imagination is bridged as plants from the artist’s garden, and Middle Eastern desert motifs are transformed into poetic silhouettes against stark black grounds. Trade Naked refers to maverick investing strategies in which options are written against vulnerable, un-owned, phantom stocks. Another reinterpretation: notions of outward, physical travel into new, unknown worlds.