Brasil Daniela

Study Cabinet of Professor Ọgẹdẹ Ewé Ekọ (aka. Musa sapientum), 2021


The work of the Study Cabinet of Prof. Ogẹdẹ (aka. musa sapientum) has been created by Daniela Brasil in collaboration with other invited artists (Mara Lea Hohn and Delaine Le Bas, Sophie Krier and Ayumi Matsuzaka) and the participating audience for the art, cultural and educational project The School of the We, curated by Margarethe Makovec and Anton Lederer, to be held in 2021 at the <rotor> Centre for Contemporary Art in Graz, Austria.

The space of this work became an open and richly interacting installation with every visitor, consisting of diverse elements: a collection of medicinal plants, magical and ritual objects, seeds, stones, plant inks, soil experiments, human and animal bodily waste, photographs, collages, paintings, books, thoughts and field notes. The artist then placed a banana tree, called Prof. Ogẹdẹ in the Yoruba language, at its centre and exposed the question: How to learn from the plants? In this case from one of the world’s most resilient migrant plant, the banana, with nutritious fruit and its flowers and leaves possessing special powers. This space could be activated through various forms of audience participation: exchanging seeds, sharing techniques, instructions and recipes, storytelling, focused meditation, drawing and letter writing, reading and organising programmes for specific study groups.

Daniela Brasil’s installation has become a fascinating and immersive environment for gallery visitors to study healing practices on many meanings and levels. It evoked social memories and spiritual forces stemming from collective practices that aim to liberate and heal the land,body and soul. It fostered an openness toward re-establishing healthy relationships between human, more-than-human and the Earth. It led the audience into the chaos-world of (in)visible connections between the obvious and the mysterious, resistance and discovery, cultures and ancestors. It showed ways to heal colonial wounds and to seek knowledge outside educational institutions by reclaiming subjugated knowledge and other forms of sensing and knowing.

For the exhibition Gardening of Soul: Introduction Daniela Brasil adapted and developed a new investigation for prof. Ogẹdẹ, called ‘Rooting Studies’, where the Master Plants teach and question us about rooting and up-rooting processes that human beings should learn from the plants.

Margarethe Makovec and Anton Lederer, Daniela Brasil with contribution by Michal Koleček