Council of Seeds installation and performance, 2022

Council of Seeds is a series of poems enacted as a performance piece, spoken in the voices of the trees, as a site-specific installation and a series of large-scale calligraphic drawings. 
Inspired by and created as a site-specific artwork in the Botanical Garden of Lisbon, at  Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência.

‘Each seed carries the DNA of the future plant. And not only. As we have evolved together, all ecosystem participants are intrinsically interlinked in a complex dance. Every seed carries the memory of everything else around it, including minerals of the mountains, waters that nurtured its plant parents, animals and birds that carried it around, and other plants growing nearby. Every seed carries the stories connecting it to humans. 


I am looking for ways to know the essence of the seed, beyond mainstream narratives. By tuning in with the seed, and the tree it comes from at the moment when it finds me, through intuitive poetic weaving, rooting in indigenous knowledge and research of common properties and uses. I become that essence of the seed that holds the matrix, the multidimensional memory of its continuous rebirth through time. 


This new performance brings together the seeds that found me and spoke to me in the Botanical Garden of Lisbon. Telling their stories in the first person is the way of speaking their essence. 


These relationships and connections are healing. Even though the seeds come from all parts of the world and they might have lost their local cultural associations as they have travelled via colonial routes, they speak to me in the present moment, offering their medicine in the appropriate way for the specific cases and on their own terms. They invite me to plant them, make ink from their hulls, taste them and retell some of the forgotten stories.

Bead Tree

I come in multitudes 

Strung on a thread 

Of Autumn

Endless rosary 

Seal of my truth

Every bead

One by one 

The birds carry

Into their nests

Every bead

One by one

Children pluck

For their games

All the beads 

Look the same

Each one 

Is a tree in the forest

Different from one another

All the trees of the world are connected 

All the birds of passage 

Knowing counts

Threaded through my four-fold core

Into endless rosary 

Protecting the city, 

Protecting the garden, 

Embracing the space.

Black walnut ink

I am noxious poison for some
I am a miracle cure for others
Not everyone will thrive 
Around my numbing ground
Not everything will stand
Under my crowning spell
Fold upon fold 
My medicine coiled within 
Deep cavities of mind
Time ripens reluctantly
Elaborately carving yet another curve
Encrusted in a bitter shell
Enthralled within delirious hull
My core intact 
Time unfolds inevitably
Into the world
What does not belong
What is unworldly

Bunya Time
Dawns before your dawn
Mother Mountain 
Spilt liquid fires
She rested before giants
Cooling her blood
Into sweet fresh milk
Great beasts were born of her
Came feeding on my heavy fruit 
Dawns before your dawn
Long forgotten fires
Reignited amber 
Glowing night after night
Smoke climbing the stars
The future ones
Came feasting on my seeds
Circling around me
Messengers of peace 
Dawns before your dawn

Council of Seeds performance is also an audio piece, which can be accessed by anyone going through the Botanical Garden of Lisbon, and will continue to evolve both in this location and in other public and private gardens, parks and forests. Council of Seeds is essentially an open-ended performance and installation, inviting trees and seeds to step forward and speak. All I am here to do is step into their world, listen deeply, reflect, learn their way, and take the medicine they offer.
Ultimately it is my vision to create an actual Eternal Forest Council which would include the voice of the land, trees, waters, animals and people, as participants in the complex ecosystem, which values every voice.
Calligraphic drawings of the poems created for the exhibition are scribed on wet bamboo paper, the calligraphy becomes an image, transcending the limitations of language. I look for a composition that reflects the feeling in the keywords in the poem which are also drawn in large strokes in black, while the whole poem is scribed in light grey afterwards.’

The series is complemented by the drawings of the participants based on their reflections during the art experiences in the Jardim Botanico de Lisboa. Each drawing - is an expression of the gift of the seeds and the trees to the people. They are drawn with brush and ink made by the artist from the hulls of Black Walnut tree nuts. It is now part of the Council of Seeds collection.

A handmade ‘Seed Carrier’ - an apron to carry seeds, leaves, poetry, ink, and brushes during the performance Council of Seeds. 2022, Eternal Forest

 'Seed Carrier', fabric, hand-made, 2022

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