Elsa Salonen

Despertando a los espíritus de las hojas

medicinal plants collected from Colombia and their distilled colours, glass, lights, holograms

2016-2017, dimensions variable

The artist collected local medicinal plants from specialised natural healers, 'hierbateros', in traditional marketplaces in Cali, Colombia. Some of the plants were pressed and mounted on glass sheets, while from others the colours were distilled and preserved as liquids in glass vessels. In addition, using the distilled colours, the artist painted images of plant spirits related to animist traditions. The paintings are reflected as holograms inside two of the glass vessels. 

The installation studies the animistic worldview, according to which the spirits of the medicinal plants have a significant role in curing diseases.

Thematic consultancy / local medicinal plants: Herbalist Jorge Casilimas 
Project location / artist-in-residence: Lugar a Dudas, Cali, Colombia 
Used medicinal plants / pressed plants: abre camino, limoncillo, mimosa, pata buey, penicilina / colours: abre camino, anamú, brazo fuerte, marañum, penicilina, sangre de drago
Exhibition views: Insitu, Berlin, 2017 / Photographer: Jere Salonen

Plants are engaged with as powerful persons, some of whom give their lives or part of themselves for the benefit of other persons. The gracious potency and abundant generosity of the plant-world.

Graham Harvey, Animism, 2005