Finding Flowers’ research aims for inclusive creation and sharing of knowledge between Indigenous knowledge holders, ecologists, social scientists, the general public, artists and students. Our work fills knowledge gaps about the pollination requirements of culturally important plants, and provides an important link between historical and contemporary environmental issues and ways of living. This research also helps us to understand the impact of pollinator declines on food security and the potential for Indigenous gardens to provide habitat for pollinators.
Mike Macdonald’s Butterfly Garden Panel Discussion was a conversation between Lisa Myers, curator and artist, Becca Taylor, Director of Ociciwan Contemporary Art Centre, and Catherine Crowston, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Art Gallery of Alberta. This program looked at the legacy of the late Mi’kmaq artist Mike MacDonald whose pollinator gardens continue to inspire and be a space for community contemplation and knowledge sharing.
The growing of gardens as part of contemporary art practice has burgeoned into ecological and eco-art genres that hold space for community-engaged art practices to address shared colonial histories of food, land-use, and medicines. These gardens provide places to gather and grow, to apply storytelling as research, and to share knowledge of pollinators, plant medicines and land rights. Additionally, the re-created gardens and other previously established Indigenous gardens are study sites for ecological surveys of pollinators and pollination.