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Resilience in Nature: We Are the Roses that Grew from the Concrete | Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Today's Hours: 10am–5pm, Daily
Home Resilience in Nature: We Are the Roses that Grew from the Concrete Resilience in Nature: We Are the Roses that Grew from the Concrete
Programming planned in collaboration with All People Arts, Creative Women of Color, Maroon Arts Group and TRANSIT ARTS will be available during the exhibition.
Virtual Gallery & Exhibition
Click on an individual image to enlarge. Click again to see the artist’s name and more information on their work. Click the arrows to scroll through the images. The Exhibition Catalogue includes information on the exhibition’s partners, jurors, and artists as well as a note from the Conservatory’s President & CEO. Scroll through the catalogue to learn more.
Those interested in supporting the artists by purchasing their work should contact Botanica Gift Shop at 614-715-8010 or email@example.com.
Neveah Alexander | Acrylic | 2018
“I made this painting to honor my grandfather who was a black panther. I used acrylic paint. The cracked brick wall in the background symbolizes the inner city and its deteriorating infrastructure. I chose to depict a blue rose because blue roses do not exist in nature and due to that they symbolize attaining the impossible. To make it out of the inner city in a positive manner is unusual because there are many traps in place to leave the area in a jumpsuit or a casket instead. This piece fits so perfectly with the exhibition theme because roses are not supposed to grow from concrete. This means that this plant had to be resilient to bloom into its beauty. The fist and its pan African colors represent the force by which my grandfather was able to persevere and break out of the concrete/his circumstances. He had to gain knowledge of self and learn his African history to rise above negativity. One technique that I taught myself while working on this piece was to dab my paintbrush without necessarily blending the paint. I used this technique to achieve a multi-toned blue rose without a neat looking gradience. The colors in the fist are already well blended so I wanted to use a different approach on the rose. I chose to not paint too many layers of color onto the bricks in the background because I wanted the texture of the canvas to still show through, therefore representing a textured brick wall.”
What shouldn’t i be?
Roger Brackins | Acrylic | 2021
“Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise and Tupac’s The Rose That Grew from Concrete was in heavy thought as I created this piece. Utilizing mixed media texture, acrylic, coffee grounds and self taught technique, I was able to form such a concept as shown.
I wanted this piece to embody the challenges of our black youth. I wanted this piece to be timeless. Given the same struggles our elders endured, are the same ones we face today. We, black men and women, are often faced with discouragement, brutal attacks of racism, prejudices, and oppression. We are too often told we aren’t enough. We can’t do that. We can’t go there. And that we will never be...as society continues its failed attempts to weigh us down, the question still remains the same..What shouldn’t I be?”
Jamie Ceasar | Film Photography | 2021
“I wouldn’t call myself a nature photographer, but I love capturing the natural flow of life. As a street photographer I see life in motion. People getting from A to B, enjoying themselves, or dealing with struggles. I also get to observe how nature plays a role in our daily lives. When I read the title of this exhibition, one photograph came to mind. An image of a painted rose on a wall, surrounded by concrete, being fueled by a painted sun. Even in this alleyway, someone felt the need to incorporate an element of nature. A sense of beauty. Fenced in, caged in, it still blooms and offers a passerby something organic. Whenever I pass by this rose, I smile. It reminds me that through our humanity, we are still connected, and long to remain connected to our natural world. This image was created with a medium format camera, using Kodak Ektar 120 roll film. I developed, and processed the film myself.”
Lisa Cliff | Acrylic | 2019
“For me, concrete is a metaphor for hard challenging times which lately represents the pandemic. The roses are the beautiful objects, inspirations, and creations that, like a butterfly, continue to transform, transmute and rise above one’s current perception of reality. Like the butterfly, the metamorphosis continues. Creative Butterfly is a nod in honor of the brilliance and resilience of the spirit of the artist. The keys dangling around her neck represent possibility & mystery; opening doors to an imagination that bears no walls or barriers; keys for unlocking passage ways to endless possibility and thought. Creative Butterfly is the ‘rose leaning into life with intentionality; to make beauty out of stark concrete.
To create Creative Butterfly, I used fully saturated vibrant colors and a free handed style to convey a new freedom and lighter attitude. Of course I added the heart shaped palette to convey to the viewer my love for creating, and the color dripped paint brushes are the divine tools and extension of my hands used to color my vision and bring my reality to life. I specifically gave the subject ‘monarch butterfly wings to represent longevity, spirituality & rebirth in order to transport the viewer’s imagination to higher places.”
Rainy Day in the Forest
Luke Cooper | Acrylic | 2020
“This painting was inspired by looking out of a cinder block glass window on a rainy day. All that could be seen was a wet blur of green as I looked out into the backyard. To create this piece I used various shades of green, gray, black and off-white. The texture was created with my fingers and a piece of graded metal. I blended layers of colors together with a paintbrush and my fingers.”
Paradise Regained #18
Benjamin Crumpler | Acrylic, Mixed Media | 2020
“Floral images are a fascinating exaggeration of physical plant life…creative life forms are here to stay. For the purposes of joy and the enlightenment of mankind. Paradise regained all that was created on planet earth, and it was pronounced good. Despite the pollution of this planet and the invasion of concrete jungles; foliage and all of its companions are here to stay.
This series of recent paintings were not created on typical canvas. The painted surface is actually nylon. A very smooth slippery surface. There are twenty one paintings in this series, nineteen of them are 48” x 100”. Images could easily resemble tropical gardens anywhere in the world. Bright, translucent colors remind us of how wonderful our land-shapes change in spring time. When everything is new, born again. And full of life and promise. Negative space is carefully thought out. Especially in the foregrounds, and background. Always a bright sun to remind us of the season of change.”
Kenya Davis | Mixed Medium | 2021
“For proving ‘There’s strength in numbers... look no further than the ingenuity of honey bees. Inside a beehive exists a mass of hexagonal prismatic wax cells that collectively make up the honeycomb. It is the hexagonal structure that provides exceptionally high mechanical strength and efficiency through light weight and minimal materials. Hexagonal designs/composites have been incorporated into seemingly endless applications, including LED technology, the automotive industry, aerospace technology, and in packing materials; such as those that have been upcycled in my mixed-media piece Honeycomb Collective.
The white-washed tone and rough texture of the canvas is reminiscent of birch-like trees. Nestled within the multi-layered surface is the striking focal point of the durable honeycomb. The hexagonal grid shape of each cell can be seen repeated throughout the picture plane; in the produce netting, and again in the dried lotus pods. I liken each cell of the honeycomb to each home that makes up my neighborhood. Although the houses are similar, each home is a distinct representation of families of differing shapes, sizes, and colors. Just as with a productive colony of busy honey bees, great care must be taken to preserve the nexus of transformative activity that takes place within our bustling neighborhoods to perpetuate the collective legacy of strength and hope.”
Altered Reality #3
Earl H. English | Scanography | 2021
“My work is about his passion for nature. The work is done in a more diverse way than most people see nature. I like photographing things extremely close, taking the viewer to an entirely different world, using sometimes very soft light and bright colors, and sometimes with a little twist. All work is printed on archival paper with Epson ultra chrome inks.”
Janet George | Digitally Manipulated Photography | 2021
“Paradise Paved was inspired by the song, Big Yellow Taxi written, composed and recorded by Joni Mitchell in 1970. ‘Don‘t it always seem to go that you don‘t know what you‘ve got till it‘s gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot...The artwork illustrates the irony of the loss of our green spaces by paving over nature in public areas and subsequently creating murals of nature to beautify and soften the hard concrete, blacktop or bricks. The image also depicts the resilience of nature as we see the greenery growing through the concrete cracks in what appears to be an effort to reassert itself as ‘paradise and reclaim both the parking lot and the wall. Once the concept for the work was conceived, the process of creating Paradise Paved first involved a search for the perfect parking lot and wall on which to create the mural. Relying on an abundance of my original floral photographs I layered and layered images on the wall, enhancing, adding and subtracting to create the mural. Finally, I was able to bring the various images together into one that I felt conveyed the story best. The story of a song about a paradise lost without understanding, and how I could represent the irony of that loss to viewers.”
Yahfa Guerra | Acrylic | 2019
“The Traveler invites the viewer with a gaze to venture further into composition, where an unknown world is laid out before them. The world is filled with abundance which is displayed by the variety of plant life and the mountainous landscape. The greenery is done with free and expressive strokes that show a vibrant land with life. Yet the atmosphere remains serene as if you are holding your breath. The figure to the left looks at you as if asking the question ‘will you? and she holds her breath in suspense. Along the path are three figures that represent a journey of discovery. Three masked figures take a variety of stances. The first beckons you further. Its a promise of what could be. The second shows an unsteadiness akin to growing pains. It displays the uneasiness of something new. The third is a perfect balance, it shows resilience. The three figures represent a journey and the traveler beckons you to join them. So the question becomes ‘will you join the traveler on the path to uncover the nature of self discovery?”
Jasmine Hill | Digital Photography | 2021
“Resilient Tulip captures the magical discovery of one of spring‘s first vibrant arrivals. While the nearby hyacinths that are now wilted and depleted of color, the dependable tulip has burst forth with dynamic hues. I enjoyed playing with the depth of fields while using my Canon EOS M50 and 50 mm lens. I chose to print this photo on acrylic for a result that is clean, borderless and vibrant with rich colors and depth. Furthermore, I wanted the bold, lone flower to pop and the child to come off soft while still towering, as if they both are marveling at each other‘s innocent beauty. Both can be hidden treasures depending on their environment, which at times the world tends to overlook. I hope the audience sees this more as nature mirroring the essence of the young girl."
Jasmine Hill | Digital Photography | 2021
“Resurrected Fruit is telling the revised story of the relationship between Blacks and trees. Billie Holiday‘s song, Strange Fruit came to mind when concepting this photograph. The boy is standing boldly in the center of the tree, revoking historical images of human appendages hanging from branches. His neck is gracefully stretched forth, noose free with his chest elevated with pride in contrast to a sunken corpse of the past. This display of a black child appreciating the beauty of nature on their own free will is pricelessly displayed through the joy and freedom of the child‘s expression. The sweet fruit which is promised through the blooms of the Bartlett Pear tree, echoes the evolving relationship between our people and the past symbol of the tree. This photograph symbolizes generations who will grow up freely embracing the symbiotic relationship that has been there from the beginning between man and tree. We coexist so that both can have life, breath, and give nourishment to one another. I used a 50 mm lens to give a feel of an onlooker‘s perspective peering upwards, giving a vast view of the tree branches which similarly patterns the bronchioles of the lungs. The photography is printed on acrylic to add to the dynamic appeal.”
Josiah Jamison | Oil, Silver Leaf | 2021
“My work revolves around the representation of black and brown bodies in America. Being Black and physically visible, in that we are different from our white counterparts, is something most people of color have faced in their lives. Being visible yet simultaneously invisible - overlooked and disregarded - and being separate from white America is something many black people are hyper-aware of. I use contrasting flat black surfaces and reflective surfaces to shed light on this intersectional invisibility, challenging the viewer‘s attention to see what is there and what is not. The use of portraiture and nontraditional material in oil painting allows me to explore these ideas, while also revealing an experience that all people of color have gone through."
Lance Johnson | Mixed Media | 2021
“Rest is resistance.
Too often we in our communities are deprived of rest. Forced to combat realities that cause stress. To resist this is to rest. Rest and contemplation give us space to dream, to create and to aspire to greater things.
Art has the power to change the world. Art helps us express ourselves freely. Allows us to creatively share our perspectives and is instrumental in building bridges culturally, racially and economically.
As an artist, I use my work to inspire people from all walks of life. Especially young people who live in urban environments. I want them to appreciate where they come from and to embrace the beauty around them but also aspire to greater things. I use vibrant colors, textures and WORDS to inspire the viewer of my work. I use words like DREAM, INSPIRE, SHINE, LOVE, LIVE, CREATE, BEAUTY, PEACE, WISDOM throughout my work to affect emotions in the viewer.
I grew up in the Bronx NY and recently moved to Columbus. I was drawn to Cbus because of the collaborative spirit of the art community here and the way the city embraces the arts. It’s so dope to see artists supporting artists and that's what I’m all about. Collaboration and connections. Artlife.”
The Choreographer #1
Brian A. Jones | Acrylic | 2018
“The Choreographer #1 relates to the theme: variations found in nature. The piece reflects a beautiful tree with white leaves, a color dramatic sunset suspended above wind blown grass.”
Dionna Kendrick | Pencil | 2021
“I chose the title Resilience, because of the perseverance and struggle the average black woman must face to be accepted in society. Each leaf has the name of an empowering black woman who has made an impact or left their mark on society. The daffodils represent the unachieved dreams of black American due to racism and doubt. The vines represent the tie or inescapable connection we have to our skin and the history of our skin, our heritage. The roots represent our love for one another and the encouragement and prayers from those in our communities. They also represent the joy and pride we feel due to our accomplishments for our culture and families.”
What da' Manna?
Tiffany Lawson | Acrylic, Mixed Media | 2021
“God is nature. When we trust in God, our needs are met, especially in the wilderness (of life). This piece is based on Exodus 16:15. KJV, ‘And when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.’
My art is created from items and images that are at hand; previous drawings and items/images collected over time. I have found the practice of collecting and arranging to be innate; a process that recovers the past, secures the present and expects the future. Anchored in my spirituality, culture, and womanhood, I use songs, lyrics, and verse as my mechanism to collect images; in tandem with the present; reconstructing stories for the future.”
Destiny Manson | Photography | 2020
“A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love.” - Max Muller
Aleesha Nas | Digital illustration | 2021
“There are many atrocities that devastate the retelling of Black history. However, my existence is proof that my ancestors were survivors. The tradition of honoring survivors has not broadly included the victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and that needs to change. The relationship between my ancestors and the fields they labored in is what came to mind when creating a piece of art for the theme: Resilience in Nature.
My digital painting, Ancestor Ancestor depicts a young slave girl’s view from the kitchen of a plantation house, while she concurrently views a painting immortalizing Black history in a present-day museum. Additionally, the kitchen is a subtle remark on colorism and its place in my own lineage. The slight optical illusion between the time periods allows the girl to exist as both my ancestor and a young Black girl living today.”
The Red Door
Diego Pablo | Illustration | 2021
“I just looked or imagined something or someone in a format. If I liked it, I would try to make it. My Ma, my art teachers, and my art mentor have pushed me to continue art. I have overcome thresholds of my comfort zone, pushing myself with the assistance of my influencers to have my horizons broadened. And my creative process? Just make anything that comes to mind. All it needs is a steady hand and understanding of what you are making.”
Ariel Peguero | Print, Digital | 2020
“The main figure is a young black man with a halo above his head floating. He hovers over a garden and in between two flowers. One is a yellow sunflower with an eye that is half closed; as if to say ‘I‘m not surprised?‘ The other flower is spikey and a bit more ferocious. The clouds in the sky share the same sentiment as the flower. The sun and the moon share the sky to show that the figure is in a sort of limbo; in between night and day. With the use of a mobile phone and augmented reality the viewer can reveal a further message.”
The Beauty of Fungi
Lynne Prillerman | Photography | 2020
“I shot this piece of work while walking in Franklin Park. I am always looking for unique creativity in my natural surroundings. I happened to look down and discovered a cluster of mushrooms; all different shapes, sizes and textures surrounded by blades of grass. The composition of the mushrooms was so creative it spoke to me. I saw unity, family, and growth which showed resilience in the difficult time we are living in today. As I was editing the work I changed the color of mushrooms to purple to represent royalty. I was so blessed to capture the natural beauty of the fungi through the lens of my camera.
‘Knowing that every good and perfect gift comes from above’. It is my desire to create images in various mediums that will allow you to explore your spirituality through the arts. I am also a portrait artist that uses our human experience to create an avenue that allows us to embrace one another. Hopefully through viewing my art, you can relate to the pains and joys of life. Believing all things are possible and that hope is available to you.”
Stefanie Rivers | Textile | 2021
“Trees are the foundation of nature supporting the surrounding and greater community by developing solid ground, shading growing earth and cleaning the clear, blue skies.
The definition of art, ‘the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination’ (Google).
As a school psychologist that deals with strong emotions daily, art is the perfect vehicle to move these emotions to a beautiful, calming and releasing space.”
Asya Shine | Kanekalon Braiding Hair, Natural Wheat | 2021
“Soul Sisters showcases the complex pattern of braiding formed by the intertwining of multiple strands of human and plant fiber. In plant species this pattern is physically replicated in structure, shape, and other geometric variations. In the human population, braiding interweaves a wide range of similar physical and social relationships: it expresses individuality, represents heritage, and serves as a reminder of the resiliency of the Black community. The work touches on themes of biomimicry, diversity, and adaptation. Functioning as more than a tool for hair care, hair braiding interweaved a range of functions throughout Black history. During slavery, hair braiding became a navigation tool and means to store food. Braids were used to map escape routes, for instance, the number of plaits worn could indicate travel distances and meeting locations. The coarseness of afro-hair made it a frequent place to store food, so women often braided grains and seeds into their children’s hair before separation.
To create the two pieces, 50-inch-long Kanekalon braiding hair was braided to a length of 30 feet each. This required taking the additional strips of braiding hair and folding it in half into the shaft of the braid. Pieces of the natural wheat fiber are braided into these 30-foot-long braids, some hidden, and some revealed. The braids are then adhered continuously to the canvas, mimicking trails of various maps, to represent how braids served as navigation tools.”
Hanging By A Limb
Stacy Spencer | Acrylic, Paper Mache, Clear Coat | 2021
“Hanging by a Limb is 3-D textured and acrylic art that tries to capture the essence of those in our communities who dare to coexist yet struggle to get along. With good intention, the goal is to hang in there and not give up. Our country is worth the fight!"
Stacy Spencer | Acrylic, Clear Coat | 2021
“Gen*tri*fi*cation: The process whereby the character of a poor urban area is changed by wealthier people moving in, improving housing, and attracting new businesses, typically displacing current inhabitants in the process. This acrylic monochrome painting is enhanced with a colorful and lively tree which displays (as you look closely at the roots) the biomimicry of people of color as they struggle while forcibly being up-rooted from their homes and community. Each leaf that falls and is caught, represents hope toward their next phase of life.”
Ala: She who begins and ends the seasons
Paisha Thomas | Ceramic Clay, Glaze | 2021
“Ala: She who begins and ends the seasons is made with a dark brown ceramic, high-fire clay, and glazed. This piece was thrown in five parts starting with the globe which contains only the continent of Africa, Ala and her roots which embrace and cover the globe - or Earth. After throwing the globe, the Venus form, head/neck, arms and water tray were thrown and attached. Ala was then bisque fired, glazed, and glaze fired. Repeating the glaze and glaze firing a second time to add depth to the blue color of the roots, which were rolled into coils, attached and sculpted before bisque firing.
In the Odinani tradition of the Igbo people of southern Nigeria, Ala means ‘of the earth‘ or the ground herself. The goddess Ala holds the power to make the earth fertile, productive, abundant. She is the guardian of women and children. Ala’s characteristics are those found in African people of the continent and the diaspora. The fruit that we have produced through innovating in every possible way has been beneficial around the world. Technology, math and sciences, music, the arts, fashion, and film are only some of the fields in which the intellectual and creative genius of Black human beings can be found. Although white supremacy has continued to systematically oppress people of the African diaspora, we remain. We continue to create and build. We still bring joy through the works of our minds and hands. We are resilient.”
Lisa Tyus-Lee | Photo On Metal | 2020
“This photograph signifies the urgent need for prison reform. African American men represent the largest number of people incarcerated in US prisons and are at least twice as likely to be profiled by police than their caucasian male counterparts. When I came upon this composition on a walk, the vibrant, sundrenched leaves, growing through the black bars, struck me as nature’s depiction of the enduring struggle African American men have been forced to face for decades. The leaves flickering in the sunlight juxtaposed against the stark, coldness of the metal bars, conjured a sense of hope that there could be an end to this barbaric, punitive assault on these men.”
We Share Trauma
Vona Walker | Mixed Media Painted Record | 2021
Learning to Let Go
Nina Wells | Digital Photography | 2020
“Releasing is in our nature. The rise and fall of our breath, the sun, and the moon all remind us of the beauty of time fleeting. To mourn the light a person once brought in your life, or the person you once were, or maybe that memory that makes your stomach warm–is to acknowledge the beauty of what once was. The hard part is accepting that nothing will ever be exactly the same again.”
The BlackBerry Pickers
Floristine Yancey-Jones | Acrylic | 2017
“The Blackberry Pickers is a wonderful, colorful landscape/memory from my Childhood Collections. One of fourteen paintings in the Childhood Collection, the piece reflects my cousins and I picking blackberries on a hot summer day in rural Virginia. The painting relates to the theme, ‘nature as a problem solver . The problem: my grandmother and older family members wanted blackberries to make delicious pies, cobblers, jams, and jellies. The solution: the children will pick the berries that are provided by nature. Problem solved!“
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens 1777 E. Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43203
Open Daily: 10am–5pm, Daily