The Orchard Series
Since first setting eyes on this grove of cut down cherry trees, I've gained a visual language that speaks to my experience of the last several years while also alluding to larger cultural conversations about agriculture, trauma and social and environmental justice.
The title of this piece "What Might Have Been" comes from a quote from "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver that has shaped a lot of my thinking about the ramifications of human interaction with the environment over the course of time. In the context of Barbara's novel, the full quote "what might have been, is this instead" was referring to the complicated (and tragic) history of the colonization of the African continent and the necessity of acknowledging the full history of a place and people to understand a way forward. One cannot change the past, but one can find ways to work in the present to bring beauty in the midst of tragedy. That said, it is also important to be aware that even the best intentions can have unintended consequences. Transposing this image of a destroyed orchard on top of the local history of the European colonization of Northern Michigan, I am attempting to acknowledge my implication in this complicated history as a descendant of white farmers.