Environmental work of art: signs, drawings and a book, 2017
The Immigrant Garden consists of 32 botanical illustrations depicting the immigrant species found at the manor grounds, and accompanying texts explaining how the plants have migrated from other continents to Mietoinen. The original illustrations are on show in the Residence buildings. The texts can be read on signs posted around the estate and in this book.
Since 2007 we have executed several versions of the garden both in Finland and abroad. In its way, the Immigrant Garden sums up our musings on plants as symbols for Otherness as well as on people's attitudes towards plants and towards various different Others.
In a sense, the publication related to this project continues the tradition of horti picti (painted gardens), books that were first published in Europe in the early 17th century. With illustrations and texts, these books portrayed the plants of a certain garden. While working on the Immigrant Garden, we could not help comparing ourselves to the travelling painters of the 18th century, who roamed the Finnish countryside and offered to paint views of the estate for the owners.
An international residency for artists and researchers, the Saari Residence is a hub of constant arrivals and departures, where introduced species have their own place and role. It will be interesting to visit the Manor grounds in ten years time to see which of the species we found in 2016 are still there and what new introductions have appeared.